by Bob Morello
As the roller coaster ride of emotions continues, following the Boston Bruins’ loss on Monday to the Ottawa Senators in the fight for second spot in the Atlantic Division, the team will get right back on the horse, led by coach Bruce “Butch” Cassidy. There will not be any look backs at what went wrong in the Ottawa game, but rather the attention would be focused on last nights (Wednesday) contest at the TD Garden. The mindset will be that under Cassidy’s tenure their 7-3-0 record for the last ten games is still respectable. The Detroit Red Wings will be supplying the opposition as they struggle through a trying season thus far, and are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in 25 years.
As the Record went to press, the Bruins held the third spot in the Atlantic Division, four points behind Ottawa and a pair of points up on Toronto. While Boston faced the Red Wings on Wednesday night, the Senators were playing in Dallas, so those scores were not figured in as yet. The tight-knitted standings at press time showed that there is a situation where the four, and the two point differences could be easily re-justified due to the fact that both Ottawa with four points astern still holds two games in hand over Boston, and Toronto who trails the Bruins by two points, still maintains a single game in hand over the Bruins.
The fact is when the Record hits the streets of Chelsea on Thursday, the 2-4 spots in the division standings could have changed dramatically. The reason being several of those games-in-hand will have been played by Thursday, and it leads to the probability of a single point being a slot up or down in the standings. Come Thursday, the Bruins will have attempted to get their game back on track Wednesday night on Garden ice, and solidify their hold on the third spot in the Atlantic, a solid effort will determine that.
Tuukka Rask was expected to be minding the net for Boston for Wednesday’ game, as every game serves as a chance for the Bs to pick up even one crucial point that can make a major difference in the standings. The Bruins will remain at home for a Saturday matinee with the Philadelphia Flyers who are also fighting for a chance to make the playoffs, although they have struggled of late. Following the Flyers game, Boston will head out to the West Coast to take on the Vancouver Canucks (Monday, 3/13 at 10:00pm), on Wednesday (3/15 at 9:00pm) they will be in Calgary to battle the red-hot Flames who are currently riding a seven-game win streak, and finish the West Coast adventure with former Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli’s Edmonton Oilers. One final stop on the road will be a mega-important division game versus the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday, 3/20 at 7:30pm.
Boston still manages to hold onto, albeit precariously, the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference standings, but nonetheless a position that can change with each passing hour. The Bruins have taken a hit with the loss of Ryan Spooner who was injured in the third period of Boston’s loss to Ottawa Monday night, after suffering the effects of a concussion. The injury precipitated the call-up of Austin Czarnik, and will call for realignment of the Bruins’ lines by Cassidy, likely giving Drew Stafford the chance to show his ability to fit in easily to Boston’s lineup wherever needed. Ah, such fun these final five weeks of the regular season schedule!