The Bruins (45-28-4) had an opportunity to clinch on Thursday against the Washington Capitals, but a 3-2 shootout loss put the B’s playoff spot temporarily on hold.
Going in today’s game against the New York Islanders, the Black & Gold were ready to come out strong and secure their postseason spot. But even with their work done for them, the Bruins aren’t going to take Saturday’s game lightly.
The Islanders (33-33-11) are last in the Atlantic division, but they’ve won five of their last six games.
“The Islanders, I think lately, have been playing really well and I think you’ve seen that a lot of times when a team is mathematically eliminated,” Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said. “There’s a lot of pressure that comes off those guys – they just go out and all they do is play. They really play, and want to enjoy the last few games they have left and that usually gets the best out of your team.”
When the Bruins take the ice against the Islanders, forward Brad Marchand
hopes that his team is riding the momentum from Thursday’s game.
Despite the loss, the B’s made an energizing comeback in the last five minutes to erase a two-goal deficit and salvage the extra point in the shootout.
“It’s good for us,” Marchand said. “We showed some good character there coming back, especially going into the playoffs that’s what you need. You need to be able to come back in games and we definitely want to continue to build off that momentum we had coming back in that game and bring it into this weekend and the rest of the season and hopefully it can help us a bit.”
The last time the Bruins and the Islanders squared off, New York got the best of Boston with a 3-2 victory in the TD Garden.
But the B’s are a different team since then, as they have come out of their midseason slump and have won five of their last seven.
The depth that the made the Bruins offense so dangerous has returned to the lineup – most recently in the form of the line of Benoit Pouliot
, Chris Kelly
and Brian Rolston
– and Marchand said that will help the team down the road.
“We’re a good team because we have four lines and any line can score and even step up and give us a good game and that’s what you need in the playoffs,” Marchand said. “You need every line to be able to contribute and right now, that’s what we have so hopefully that will continue to happen.”