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Buckle up: the Bruins’ schedule is about to get nuts

Soon, those “games in hand” will be a thing of the past.

NHL: FEB 13 Flames at Bruins Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s been a familiar refrain for the better part of a couple months: “The Bruins have X games in hand on Team ABC.”

And it’s true: we’re entering the second half of February, and the Bruins have two games in hand on the team directly in front of them (Tampa Bay Lightning) and four games in hand on the team directly behind them (Toronto Maple Leafs).

In fact, the Bruins have played the second-fewest games in the NHL this season: they’ve played 55 (tied with a few other teams), while the Florida Panthers have played 53.

Their schedule has been weird at times this season, with seemingly random stretches of little to no action followed by back-to-backs then another layoff.

This week is the perfect example: the Bruins played Tuesday night, and are now off until Saturday night.

The flip side to this, of course, is the fact that things eventually even out. That equilibrium is looming just over the horizon.

The Bruins have three days off between Tuesday’s Calgary game and Saturday’s Vancouver game; they’ll have three days off between next Tuesday’s Edmonton game and next Saturday’s Toronto game.

After that, the Bruins will have two consecutive days off only one time before the end of the regular season. The team plays every other day through the entirety of both March and April, a surprisingly grueling stretch that can be considered payback for a slow waltz through November and December.

In March alone, the B’s will play 16 games in 31 days. Those 16 games include two different four-game road trips as well. One of those road trips is a middle-of-the-continent gauntlet against strong playoff teams in St. Louis, Dallas, Minnesota and Winnipeg.


Three of February’s remaining six games are against teams currently in or within a point or two of playoff position, while the same can be said for ten games in March.

The good news?

  • The Bruins have been great on the road this season.
  • The team has done a good job of not overplaying Tuukka Rask, so he should be fresh throughout the run.
  • The Bruins have been so lights-out lately that they can afford a stumble or two over the next few weeks.

The third bullet above is really the key point. The Bruins have a realistic shot of winning the Atlantic Division (and finishing first in the Eastern Conference). However, the larger point is that they’re pretty much a 99.99999% lock to make the playoffs.

With the top three teams in each division getting a guaranteed spot, that means the Bruins only have to finish better than the fourth-place Atlantic team to get in.

That team is currently 23 points behind the Bruins. 23 points!!!!!

The focus, of course, should remain on catching Tampa and holding off Toronto. However, the cushion should go a long way toward letting the Bruins play loose, and giving the team the ability to shrug off a 1-2-1 road trip or some kind of three-game skid.

All season, you’ve probably had the same thought as me: “This schedule has been weird.”

It’s now about to become “normal” very quickly, but the Bruins have put themselves in a great position to handle the increased workload.