This past weekend, the Bruins showed us, and probably themselves, that they do have the mettle to make a serious run at the eighth and final playoff spot.
And with wins over Montreal and New Jersey, the B’s stand within striking distance of Carolina and a chance at the cup given by the Right Honorable Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley, Earl of Derby, Baron Stanley of Preston, in the County of Lancaster, in the peerage of Great Britain, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honorable Order of the Bath (right).
If you notice, Boston has three games in hand versus both Carolina and Montreal -- and although their season’s series with the Hurricanes is over, they play the Habs three times before the end of the campaign.
The Boston Herald’s Stephen Harris writes in today’s paper, "The Bruins suddenly look like a team not only with a legitimate shot at making the playoffs, but, more importantly, one that could actually do a little damage there…This was one of the B’s games-in-hand. They jumped past the idle New York Rangers into 11th place, four points behind eighth-place Carolina, with three games-in-hand on the Hurricanes."
His compatriot, Steve Conroy, wrote in Sunday morning’s Herald, "Just when you thought you could write the Bruins off, they keep hanging around in the playoff race…The Bruins still face a steep climb to the playoffs, but at least they have a shot. And if they can bottle up (Saturday’s) effort and carry it over, they might have a decent chance."
Doug Flynn, of the Metro West Daily News and Bostonherald.com, observes "The Bruins are keeping the dream alive. Coming off last night’s emotional win over Montreal, the B’s pulled off a more stunning victory in New Jersey tonight as Joey MacDonald won an unlikely duel with Martin Brodeur in a 4-1 victory over the Atlantic Division leading Devils…With the win, the Bruins move from a tie for 12th in the East with Florida, to a tie for 11th with the Rangers. Both teams have 69 points in 65 games, though Boston holds the tiebreaker with one more win…Atlanta beat Carolina 3-1 in the only other game involving clubs battling for the final playoff spots in the East. That puts the Bruins within four points of eighth-place Carolina, and the Bruins still have three games in hand on the Hurricanes. But Boston must still climb over the Rangers, Maple Leafs and Canadiens to get to Carolina, so there’s still plenty of work to be done with just 17 games left to play."
The Boston Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont, the dean of hockey writers in this part of the world, and himself a Hockey Hall of Famer, pointed out "the odds are against them, and the Bruins may have to pay the devil to get into the playoffs. But they moved one giant step closer last night with a 4-1 win over New Jersey that was very much Devil-like…The win, their second in as many nights, moved the Bruins within 4 points of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. In concert with Carolina’s loss earlier in the day, the triumph left the Bruins with a record of 32-28-2-3, and with three games in hand to help them close the gap on the Canes."
Can you feel the positive vibes?
The B’s have an optional practice today, and I will post with any and all updates this afternoon.