Bruins: Playoff picture quickly coming into focus

The B's could very well see the Maple Leafs in the first round.
The B’s could very well see the Maple Leafs in the first round.

With only 10 left in the regular season (six home, four away), it’s time to project what seed the Bruins (25-9-4) will get and who they are most likely to see in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Heading into tonight’s game at New Jersey (15-14-10), the B’s have 54 points and they are the fourth seed so they would meet the fifth-seeded Maple Leafs (22-15-4, 48 points). The 2013 NHL postseason begins on Tuesday, April 30.

Boston has a legitimate chance at three seeds: No. 2, No. 4 or No. 5. It would benefit the B’s to land in the top four since that means they would receive home ice in the first round (although keep in mind that, historically, a home advantage doesn’t mean nearly as much in the NHL as it does in other North American pro sports leagues). The top two teams in the Northeast Division are virtually guaranteed to receive the two and four seeds. Montreal (25-9-5) has 55 points and the Canadiens won the season series, 3-1, which could come back to bite the B’s in terms of tiebreakers.

The Bruins could fall to the fifth seed but it’s unlikely with Toronto having played one more game and owning six less points. Barring an extended losing streak in the last few weeks of the regular season, Boston will be safe in the top four.

Boston vs. Toronto seems like the most likely scenario and the Bruins would be happy with that matchup since they went 3-1-0 against the Leafs this season and Toronto hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2003-04. Toronto doesn’t have the wealth of experience that the Bruins possess.

If Boston makes a run and wins the Northeast Division, there are three possible opponents that would be the seventh seed: the Senators (19-14-6), Islanders (20-16-4) or Rangers (19-16-4).

Not that they’d have a choice, but if Ottawa (which has lost five games in a row) hangs on to a playoff spot, the Bruins would love to face the Senators having gone 4-0-0 against them in this shortened year.

The Islanders are a wild card. They have more talent than the Rangers but they haven’t been in the playoffs since 2006-07. The B’s will get a closer look at the Isles Thursday night (7 p.m., NESN) at TD Garden. Out of those three teams, the B’s want no part of the Rangers, who play a similar grinding style that is a real pain to play against.

Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer on Twitter @RichSlate



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Federal mediator joins Met Opera labor talks as…

Unions representing the orchestra and chorus of the Met Opera agreed to have a federal mediator join labor talks on Thursday as a threatened lockout loomed.

Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

Movies

Review: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is a refreshingly…

Marvel is sitting so high on a cash mountain that it's now thrown $170 million at the relatively obscure and very silly title "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Movies

Review: 'Get on Up' is a war between…

James Brown finally gets his own boring biopic with "Get on Up," but the Godfather of Soul puts up a good fight against the usual cliches.

Movies

Review: 'Child of God' finds director James Franco…

James Franco's 11th directed feature is a noble but sloppy adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God," about a feral mountain man (Scott Haze).

Movies

Review: Alex Gibney's Fela Kuti doc 'Finding Fela'…

Prolific documentarian Alex Gibney takes on Afrobeat god Fela Kuti in "Finding Fela," but fails to capture his unique essence.

MLB

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade…

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade deadline

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…