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Playoff opponent update: Florida finds furious forcethrough in March, but Penguins hold strong against Philly

While the Bruins are all but assured to make the playoffs, their foe has been sort of up in the air. Let’s take a look at where we are!

Pittsburgh Penguins v Florida Panthers Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

So the Bruins are in the playoffs! I know, shocking, they’ve been fighting for it so hard, but their opponent this year is all but guaranteed to be the WC2 spot. Or, if you wanted a “superior” format...

...the WC2 spot but labelled 8. At least this year.


Anyway! Let’s check up on the competition to see who the Bruins might be sharing a playoff date with!

Currently in the Wild Card: New York Islanders (76 points, 7-2-1) and Pittsburgh (76 points, 6-3-1)

Well, this is certainly fun!

Yes, the Isle and the Pens are currently tied in points, but in points-percentage it appears that the Islanders are slated to face Boston right now. The Islanders aren’t planning on staying there however; they’re on a three game winning streak and are about to embark on a California road trip where they can at least consider 4 out of 6 points possible.

Pittsburgh meanwhile, has actually not been all that ideal lately, having dropped games to the Islanders and the Panthers, but have kept pace by beating up on the teams they should be: Blue Jackets got a Crosby’ing, and so did Tampa. They however, have a much harder schedule over the next week: three games against the Rangers in seven days is just cruel (and honestly horrific scheduling) and a great way for them to potentially slip out entirely if things go sideways.

Of the two, I think Pittsburgh is more likely simply due to how much nicer the schedule is to the Islanders over the next month (disregarding that they still have to play NJ and the Hurricanes again)

The Coulda-Be’s: Florida (73 pts., 6-3-1), Ottawa (70 pts., 6-4-0)

Both of these teams lost last night, but one was able to claw a point away from their foe, and for that reason Florida is still technically in this hunt.

I don’t know how this team has been dead for nearly all season, has failed to be the properly insane, Florida-man Panthers that made them successful in the first place and yet they’re probably in a better spot to make the playoffs than the team they traded Huberdeau to. That said, beating Winnipeg last night would’ve been huge for keeping pace with Pittsburgh; their schedule does not ease up over the next couple of weeks with a bunch of the Metro division still to play and several back to backs still on the docket.

Ottawa meanwhile has stumbled mightily in their quest for playoff relevancy; not just getting beaten badly by Chicago and Vancouver, but shutout entirely. That’s the kind of team they should be walking over without fail in order to gain ground and they’ve had a hell of a time actually achieving it. They do have the least amount of games played of all the teams making the push...but their schedule upcoming is brutal: they don’t see a single team that isn’t in a playoff spot until almost April, and even then, it’s a brief repreive. They might still be hot, but they need to turn it up even higher to have a chance right now.

Pretty much out of it: Buffalo, Detroit

Both of these teams have made incredible progress. They’ll definitely be something in the future.

They don’t have enough. Not nearly enough.

Their goaltending, injuries, and top heavyness need to be evened out before they come back to the dance. These are things that can be fixed, however, and IMO they should have tried to sell off extraneous pieces in order to further facilitate their offseasons. Not looking forward to what they are next season, though.

We’ll check back in once the week has passed, and we’ll see how things have shaken out!


Which potential playoff opponent would you MOST like to face in the first round?

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