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A day-by-day look at this week's sprint to the finish

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A week from now, the NHL regular season will be over. The Bruins are still very much "in it." Here's a breakdown of what this coming week looks like.

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Alright, so this weekend wasn't ideal. Honestly, it would've been fine had the Bruins taken care of business against an inferior New Jersey team. One out of two against St. Louis and Chicago on the road is a good thing; losing to New Jersey is not.

So here we are, April 4, three games left to play and the Bruins are outside of the playoff picture. Where do we go from here?

Monday

Bruins-wise: A day of rest. Spend today wondering aloud how Matt Beleskey continues to flub open net chances, or how yesterday could have gone a bit different had the Bruins decided to play, I don't know, maybe 30 minutes instead of just 21. We'll get back at it tomorrow.

Elsewhere: Tampa and the Islanders will play one of their "games in hand" on the Bruins. Tampa will be even with the B's after tonight in terms of games played, while the Isles will still be one behind.

Tampa is currently 5 points ahead of the Bruins; the Islanders are 3. In this one, you're hoping for a Tampa win, as while the Bruins can technically still catch Tampa, it's highly unlikely. For the most part, just hope for no overtime.

In terms of "outside chances", the Rangers are also five points ahead of the Bruins and just two ahead of the Islanders. It's very, very unlikely that the Rangers completely fall apart here, but hey, stranger things have happened. Go Columbus!

  • Lightning @ Islanders
  • Rangers @ Blue Jackets

Tuesday

Bruins-wise: The Bruins will host Carolina, which beat them at the Garden about a month ago. The Bruins were pretty terrible in that game. Carolina has been officially eliminated, but they're not going to drop far enough to improve their draft odds, so chances are they'll be excited to play the spoiler. If the Bruins can't beat Carolina in this game, let's be honest: they don't deserve to get in.

Elsewhere: The Islanders are playing at Washington. The Caps have nothing to play for (it's not even their last home game or anything), but they could end up facing the Islanders in the first round and may have a vested interest in keeping them out. GO CAPS GO!

Tampa is playing at the Rangers. Chances are this one will have no impact on the Bruins, but at the very least, root for NO OVERTIME.

  • Hurricanes @ Bruins
  • Islanders @ Capitals
  • Lightning @ Rangers

Wednesday

Bruins-wise: The Bruins will either be in better shape or nearly toast at this point, depending on how last night's game went. They'll be gearing up for tomorrow's visit from Detroit.

Elsewhere: A huge one for the Bruins: Philly at Detroit. Hoo boy. The biggest key here is NO OVERTIME. NONE. NO OVERTIME WHATSOEVER. You kind of have to root for Philly here. Yes, they're within reach of the Bruins as well, but if the Bruins win Tuesday and Philly beats Detroit tonight, the Bruins can clinch with a win Thursday. Assuming (yikes) a Bruin win Tuesday, a Detroit win puts the Flyers out of the picture with a game in hand on the Bruins. This game will be televised nationally on NBCSN.

  • Flyers @ Red Wings

Thursday

Bruins-wise: DOOMSDAY HAS ARRIVED. Red Wings at Bruins. While it's not a guarantee that the Bruins can clinch in this game, it's pretty much guaranteed that they can shoot themselves in the foot with a loss. The Bruins have had a tough time with Detroit this season, but, hey, this is a playoff game. All out. Detroit will have played the night before in an 8 PM start, so the Bruins should be able to take advantage of their fatigue.

Elsewhere: Tampa is playing at New Jersey. In the unlikely event Tampa has completely collapsed, go Devils! Otherwise, this one won't matter much. The Leafs will play at Philly. Did I mention how great the Leafs are?!? GO LEAFS GO! William Nylander is a dreamboat! Mike Babcock is a genius! Phil Kessel is — wait, ignore the last one.

  • Red Wings @ Bruins
  • Lightning @ Devils
  • Leafs @ Flyers

Friday


Bruins-wise: You'll be feeling good or feeling crushed. There is no in-between. Nurse your emotions with the lone game on tonight's NHL calendar: Columbus at Buffalo. If you weren't feeling bad before, you will be after this one.

Elsewhere: Nada.

Saturday


Bruins-wise: The end is here. Ideally, the Bruins are able to clinch with a win, or even just a point. But who knows? The Senators will be in town, and the Senators are the team that screwed the Bruins last year. Ottawa is out of it, but why not try to ruin another team's season on their own ice? This could be a great "shirts off their backs" ceremony, or a really, really awkward one.

Elsewhere: Detroit will play its final game of the regular season at the Rangers at 12:30 on NBC. NO OVERTIME, but realistically, we're all in on the Rangers here. Henrik Lundqvist is magical, GO KEITH YANDLE, etc. Pittsburgh is visiting the Flyers in the Pens' last game of the regular season. The Pens already clinched, but something tells me they'd love to put a dent in the Flyers' playoff hopes at the Wells Fargo Center. GO PENGUINS HOORAY! Again, in the very, very unlikely event Tampa has fallen apart, they're playing at Montreal. Don't count on the Habs to do anything good. The Islanders will play host to Buffalo. Maybe Secret Bruins Fan Jack Eichel can score 12 or something.
  • Senators @ Bruins
  • Red Wings @ Rangers
  • Penguins @ Flyers
  • Lightning @ Canadiens
  • Sabres @ Islanders

Sunday


Bruins-wise: Chances are, things will be settled for the Bruins by the time the sun comes up on Sunday, for better or for worse. If things are still up in the air, we'll have to wait until Sunday night at 7, when...

Elsewhere: ...the Islanders host the Flyers. This one is probably going to matter for at least one of these teams, if not both, and could matter for the Red Wings/Bruins as well. From this far out, it's hard to say who to cheer for. Probably the Islanders, as Philly is closer to the Bruins. But the real ideal: NO OVERTIME!
  • Flyers @ Islanders
And that's it. Really, it's simple: win and you're in. Win your three games against three opponents you should be able to beat, and you're in.

From there, it gets dicey: match Detroit down the stretch, with say, 2-1-0, that doesn't cut it. Go 2-1-0 while Detroit goes 1-1-1, you're golden, provided the Bruins won the Detroit game.

Then you have to consider what happens with the Flyers. And the Islanders. And...you know what, just win the last three.

It's that simple.