The Bruins have been hot lately, and one thing that makes that more impressive is that they beat the Capitals and Islanders along the way. Now the Bruins can continue their push for East Division positioning by beating the lowly (if recently more energetic) Sabres 2-0. The Bruins took care of the first of a three-game set of games against the Sabres, winning on Tuesday.
Early on, the Sabres put up a pretty good fight vs. the Bruins. Boston kept Buffalo off the board after the first period, taking a 1-0 lead. Following a scrambly 2-0 goal, the Sabres were mainly quiet against the Bruins.
Tuukka Rask‘s save was probably the highlight of the night:
TUUKKA. 👀#NHLBruins pic.twitter.com/8911oXIyEr
— NHL on NBC Sports (@NHLonNBCSports) April 20, 2021
Rask ended up pitching a 32-save shutout, his first goose egg of the season.
Bruins beat Sabres, have a shot at improving East Division position
With Tuesday’s win over the Sabres, the Bruins improved to 26-12-6 for 58 points in 44 games played. While the Bruins remain in fourth place in the East Division after that win, games in hand advantages open up the possibility for upward movement.
East Division standings update
Capitals (idle): 29-13-4, 62 points in 46 games played
Islanders (beat): 28-13-4, 62 points in 46 GP
Penguins: (won vs. Devils despite strangely terrible third period): 29-14-3, 61 points in 46 GP
Bruins (beat Sabres): 26-12-6, 58 points in 44 GP
Beyond a looming back-to-back set on Thursday and Friday, the Bruins also take on the Sabres on April 13, and close the season series vs. Buffalo on April 29 and May 1.
Generally speaking, the Bruins don’t have a ton of games left against East Division teams above them. They’re scheduled to face the Penguins two more times, then close out 2020-21 with one game apiece vs. the Capitals and Islanders.
Boston’s seeding will then rely on: a) taking care of business vs. teams outside the playoff picture and b) the Islanders, Penguins, and/or Capitals not catching fire.
This win isn’t a huge part of Boston moving up, but grinding these out will ultimately be important as things wind down.
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.