While the Boston Bruins didn’t necessarily benefit from how the NHL put together its return to play format, it didn’t entirely hurt them.
The Bruins were the clear top team in the Eastern Conference during the regular season, but now there’s the possibility they’ll be seeded as low as fourth when the playoffs begin.
Regardless, they are in the advantageous position of getting a few high-intensity, but lower-risk games in with the round-robin, which will begin next Sunday, Aug. 2.
Here’s a look at each matchup awaiting Boston.
Sunday, 8/2 at 3 p.m. ET
Goals/Game: Boston 3.24 (9th) | Philly 3.29 (7th)
Goals Allowed/Game: Boston 2.39 (1st) | Philly 2.77 (7th)
Power play: Boston 25.2 percent (2rd) | Philly 20.8 (14th)
Penalty kill: Boston 84.3 (3rd) | Philly 81.8 (11th)
— Flyers won the season series 2-1
Nov. 10: Philly 3-2 (SO)
Jan. 13: Philly 6-5 (SO)
March 10: Boston 2-0
The Flyers were a handful for the Bruins this season. They still have plenty of edge in their game, but now it’s been rounded out with some stable play at the blue line and consistent scoring from their forwards thanks to the accelerated rebuild they underwent. The big question mark for Philly will be how Carter Hart plays, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Boston go bombs away on the young goalie right off the jump to see if they can overwhelm him.
Wednesday, 8/5 at 4 p.m. ET
Goals/Game: Boston 3.24 (9th) | Tampa 3.47 (1st)
Goals Allowed/Game: Boston 2.39 (1st) | Tampa 2.77 (8th)
Power play: Boston 25.2 percent (2rd) | Tampa 23.1 (5th)
Penalty kill: Boston 84.3 (3rd) | Tampa 81.4 (14th)
— Lightning won the season series 3-1
Oct. 17: Tampa 4-3 (SO)
Dec. 12: Tampa 3-2
March 3: Boston 2-1
March 7: Tampa 5-2
The Lightning’s March 7 win over the Bruins arguably was the most entertaining game of both teams’ season. It felt like two sides that just really hated each other, and the end result was a wildly fun couple of hours. The Lightning had been chastised for being too soft, but they tried to address that with the Barclay Goodrow, Blake Coleman and Zach Bogosian additions in February. This will be a good chance to see how Tampa is putting everything together.
Sunday, 8/9 at TBD
Goals/Game: Boston 3.24 (9th) | Washington 3.42 (2nd)
Goals Allowed/Game: Boston 2.39 (1st) | Washington 3.07 (18th)
Power play: Boston 25.2 (2rd) | Washington 19.4 (17th)
Penalty kill: Boston 84.3 (3rd) | Washington 82.6 (6th)
— The season series ended tied 2-2
Nov. 16: Washington 3-2 (SO)
Dec. 11: Washington 3-2
Dec. 23: Boston 7-3
Jan. 12: Boston 3-2
It’s been well-documented how much trouble the Bruins historically have had against the Caps, but this season was one of their best showings against Washington in literal years. By the time this game comes around seedings might be mostly locked in, so there’s a possibility this contest could feature an absence of many regulars.