And so it comes down to the last three games — all on the road — for the Boston Bruins to clinch a spot in the playoffs.
Chances are, they’ll get the job done. Two wins would do it. Even just one could be good enough. They already deserve some credit, heading into tonight’s contest in D.C. having won five in a row.
That being said, there are easier ways to try and clinch than with three away games in four days: tonight at Washington, tomorrow at Florida, and Saturday at Tampa Bay. Two of those teams are headed to the playoffs. The other was close, and will be rested.
“We don’t have an easy schedule,” coach Claude Julien conceded, per CSN New England. “We have a game against Washington and we know what that represents, but it’s also a late game with a late arrival in Florida the next day.
“So we really need to take care of business early on, and try and take as many of those points as we can to not have to rely on the last game.”
It’s been quite the year for this Boston team. Even without Jarome Iginla and Johnny Boychuk, it wasn’t supposed to be this hard. The Bruins won the Presidents’ Trophy last season; they finished with a 27-point cushion. Their cushion now, over the Ottawa Senators, is zero points and one game in hand.
“This is why you play hockey,” said forward Chris Kelly, choosing to focus on the positives. “You don’t play to play in meaningless hockey games. You play to have purpose, and there’s nothing better than playing 82 games that have purpose. Every year is a different situation.”