Boston Bruins Clinch Playoff Berth; Toronto Maple Leafs Slide Down Into Wildcard Spot; New York Islanders Barely Clinging to LifeRead Now
The Boston Bruins entered yesterday's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning a couple points from a playoff berth. Two weeks prior they weren't even in the playoff picture, so they've managed to play some great hockey in the recent weeks. Boston had reeled off 5 games in a row and set themselves up with a hefty lead in the wildcard race with just a few games left to play. Last night, they wanted to take care of business and clinch their playoff spot, not leaving anything up to chance. That urgency was clearly visible in their play consistently throughout the night. Boston dominated faceoffs and dominated the puck, those two things tend to go hand and hand in most cases, which is a formula for success. Tuukka Rask, goaltender for the Bruins, had a phenomenal night in net, and a lot of that can be attributed to the Boston defenders. Boston went on to slaughter the Lightning, possibly ending any and all playoff aspirations for them, all the while locking up a playoff spot of their own. Not only did Boston clinch a playoff spot, but it's now looking like they might be able to get the 2 or 3 spot in their division. Right now Boston might be the hottest team going into the postseason as their winning streak is now at six games, so playing them in the first round is something I'd want to avoid. Impressive run by the Bruins to lock up a playoff spot, now let's see if they can carry this hot streak into the playoffs.
Toronto suffered a rough loss to the Capitals last night. It's tough when you're trying to make a playoff run just to get absolutely decimated by the best team in the league. Well, the news doesn't get any better for Toronto because last night after the loss they got the boot from the top 3 division spots and now fall into the wildcard race. They have a 5 point lead over the Islanders and Lightning with 3 games left to go for each team. All Toronto needs to do is win one of their final 3 and they're in, or the Islanders and Lightning just need to lose one game. This might be easier said then done, though. Maple Leafs play the Lightning Friday, if they win that game it's over they're in, and the playoffs are set. However, if the lightning win things could get very interesting, especially since the final two games for Toronto are against the Penguins and the Blue Jackets, two of the best teams in the conference. Thursday's game against the Lightning is the big one in terms of playoff implications. If the Toronto losses Thursday I don't see them reaching the playoffs, and that would be a monumental collapse.
Once the Bruins won last night I thought our magical season was all over. This and the fact that we were down by one early to the Predators left me mentally defeated. Little did I know that Toronto was collapsing opening up the possibility of the Islanders still being mathematically in the playoff hunt. Well, I went to bed and the Islanders continued to fight for their season. Quick thank you to Thomas Hickey for scoring an overtime goal that kept the Islanders alive. Are chances still remain slim, damn near impossible, but this squad is special, and I believe if the Maple Leafs lose their final three games, which is very possible with the competition they're up against, that the Islanders will be the team to sneak in. The final three games of the season are against the Hurricanes(Very winnable game), the Devils(In the bag already), and the Senators(Tough). If we can get to the Senators with a shot of making the playoffs if we win, we'll win with ease just out of the pure adrenaline the Islanders players will be playing with. I believe in miracles, the chances of the Isles sneaking in couldn't be much smaller, nonetheless I still believe. Go Isles Go.