Coming into this week, the Bruins had a bit of a cushion. They were within striking distance of Ottawa, ahead of Toronto and a bit more comfortably ahead of the Islanders.
After losing every game so far this week, that cushion is non-existent.
The Bruins are three points behind the Leafs for third in the Atlantic. They’re just two points ahead of the Islanders for 8th place, three points ahead of Tampa and five points ahead of the surging Hurricanes.
The Bruins still control their own fate, in that if they win every single one of their remaining games, they’re in.
However, it’s dicey after that.
The Islanders have two games in hand on the Bruins after tonight, one of which will be tomorrow.
The Bruins currently have 82 points; the Islanders have 80.
If the Bruins win all 8 of their remaining games, they’ll finish with 98 points. If that happens, the Islanders can only win 9 of 10, as the two teams play on Saturday. If the Islanders are nearly perfect, they too would finish with 98 points.
At that point, it’d come down to the ROW tiebreaker. The Bruins currently have 36 ROW, while the Islanders have 33.
Obviously the scenarios above are highly unlikely: the Bruins probably aren’t going to win eight in a row, and the Islanders probably aren’t going to win 9 of 10.
The point is that the Bruins no longer have any room for mistakes. They’ll have to play near-perfect hockey for the next two weeks, and even then, they’ll need a bit of help to make things even remotely comfortable.
Buckle up. It could be another long, long spring.