The Boston Bruins can’t guarantee themselves a playoff berth with a win alone, but they can at least say that they did everything they could – Saturday specifically – if they beat the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Tampa Bay would probably be a tough draw even if the Bolts were in take-it-easy mode, but with the Atlantic Division crown within somewhat realistic reach, they’re likely to give Boston a big fight. You can watch the game on NBCSN and also stream it online via NBC Sports Live Extra.
To save hockey fans a click, here are tonight’s updated postseason scenarios via the NHL:
* The Penguins would clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Sabres in any fashion OR if they get one point against the Sabres AND either the Senators lose to the Flyers in regulation or the Bruins fail to defeat the Lightning in regulation or overtime OR if the Bruins lose to the Lightning in any fashion.
* The Bruins would clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Lightning in any fashion AND either the Senators or Penguins lose in regulation. If the Bruins defeat the Lightning in regulation or overtime, they would qualify with either a Senators regulation loss or Penguins loss in any fashion.
* The Canadiens would clinch the Atlantic Division title if they get at least one point against the Maple Leafs OR if the Lightning lose to the Bruins in any fashion.
* The Lightning would clinch the Atlantic Division title if they defeat the Bruins in any fashion AND the Canadiens lose to the Maple Leafs in regulation.
* The Red Wings would clinch the No. 3 seed in the Atlantic Division if they get at least one point against the Hurricanes.
* The Rangers, who are locked in as the top seed in the Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference, will face the No. 2 wild card in the First Round, either the Red Wings, Senators, Penguins or Bruins.
* The Islanders would clinch the No. 2 seed in the Metropolitan Division if they defeat the Blue Jackets in regulation or overtime OR if they defeat the Blue Jackets in a shootout.
That blurb above doesn’t include West considerations. In case you’re wondering, the St. Louis Blues grab the West’s top seed if the Anaheim Ducks don’t win in regulation. The top seed gets the Winnipeg Jets while the second division winner faces the Minnesota Wild.