It’s Game 66. Shut up, Pens fans.
How quickly things change. If this game was happening one month ago, I’d be screaming from the rooftops that the entirety of the Bruins season depends on the outcome of this one game. Because I’m just an alarmist cunt trying to get clicks on my shitty hockey blog. The truth is that the standings were not shining favorably on the Bruins and a divisional loss could have been the death note in the symphony of farts that was this season. In fact, it was the Bruins’ David Carradine-esque performance against the Maple Leafs just 30 days ago that changed the course of their year.
Now, the Bruins are quasi-comfortably in a playoff spot, with an 81.4% chance of making the dance. If the playoffs were to start today, the Bruins would be facing a first-round matchup with: The Ottawa Senators. In the 25 year history of the Senators, amazingly, they have never faced the Bruins in the playoffs. Despite their divisional rivalry, a seven game series between the two would be new and exciting, provided you don’t have to listen to Jack Edwards perform whatever the polar opposite of verbal fellatio is on Erik Karlsson.
It would also be a dangerous pairing for the Bruins. Since the beginning of the 2013-14 season, Ottawa has handed Boston an L in 9 of their 14 games. Of Boston’s 5 wins in that timespan, only 1 has come at the unfortunately-named Canadian Tire Centre. We know that speed kills the Bruins like the ice age killed the dinosaurs. This Bruins team, however, is not the lumbering pack of Brachiosaurus they have been in recent years. There are still cement-footed behemoths on the back end like Chara and McQuaid, but this team is more adept at handling fast-paced offenses with speedy forecheckers of their own for a change.
Tonight is the first meeting between these teams since Thanksgiving. The Bruins are obviously not the same team they were in November, so tonight’s game could give us a lot of insight as to what a playoff confrontation could look like.
AT A GLANCE
HE’S ON FIRE
I know, right?
With the recent momentum, the Bruins’ philosophy has shifted from survival mode to “oh shit, we should actually get ready for the playoffs,” With that, objective number one has to be getting Tuukka Rask some Tuukka Rest. Normally, that would involve the Bruins penciling in a plus one in the loss column, but that hasn’t been the case lately. Since returning from Providence, Khudobin is a perfect 3-0, picking up wins against Vancouver, LA, and New Jersey. Those are exactly the kind of games that he needs to play, giving Rask the rest he needs. Has he looked unstoppable in those games? Fuck no. But the only stat that really matters for a backup goalie is the Ws and those have been falling in place.
SET HIM ON FIRE
Beleskey and his $3.8 million cap hit have contributed a whopping 2 assists since the start of December. The Bruins were right not to move him at the trade deadline, but exposing him for the expansion draft is looking more appealing by the day.
WHO TO WATCH
Anderson yielded just one goal to the Bruins in their November matchup and has compiled a 6-2 record since coming back from family leave. He is vital to the Senators’ success and could be the difference tonight and in a 7-game series.
DAYS OF Y’ORR IS ON PATREON
Pay us money so we can seize the means of production.
Erik Karlsson over Shea Weber for the Norris? A bad day for the argument that the Professional Hockey Writers Association’s has a clue.
— Jack Edwards (@RealJackEdwards) June 21, 2012