With only six games left on the NHL schedule the Bruins get their first chance to officially lock up a playoff spot with a victory Thursday night against the Washington Capitals.
The Bruins hold a five-point lead over the Ottawa Senators in their own division, but wont be wrapping that up against a Washington Capitals team that faces elimination with one more loss. The Rangers, Penguins and Flyers have already wrapped up playoff berths, so the Bruins would be the fourth conference team to cross that particular finish line.
Boston also cant come anywhere close to locking in the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference with the Florida Panthers only four points behind them, but punching a stamp into the Stanley Cup dance is the first step for a Bs team with high aspirations.
Thats the first step, right? Going in the right direction . . . clinching a spot is the right thing and youre playing a team thats really battling hard to get themselves into the playoffs. We all know that here, said Claude Julien. We can say it and pretend its just smoke coming out of my mouth, but this team here is going to be tough to play against tonight.
The desperation makes it tough. I like those kinds of challenges. Those are the challenges you need to finish the season with and bring the best out of your hockey club. Were going to have to be at our best if we expect to win tonight.
With the Bruins winning five of their last six games it appears they are very much back on course, and that theyre aiming to keep a few streaks moving strong along with the postseason-clinching final result. The Bruins would move to four consecutive wins with a triumph over the Capitals and there is little doubting Bostons motivation to make it their seventh straight game allowing two goals or less as theyve put the defensive clamps on as of late.
There is so much for us to play for right now. Were battling for home ice advantage and being No. 2 in our conference, said Krejci. As a team our game is coming along in the last five or six games, but we cant sit back. We cant take any games lightly and its time to build some good momentum with six games left. Were getting there . . . close to playing the way we want to play.
As has been the case lately there will be plenty on the line for both teams when the Bruins and Capitals take the ice Thursday night at TD Garden.