One game back from their week off and the Bruins finally have a better idea of where they stand in the playoff race. After their win over the Sharks on Sunday night the Bruins remain in 3rd in the division. However, the Maple Leafs and the Panthers are right behind them with game(s) in hand.
As we can see from the Atlantic Division Standings, Boston currently has 66 points through 59 games. Toronto is sits only one point behind them and has played 1 less game. Similarly, Florida remains 2 points behind the Bruins but has only played 57 games. The one advantage that the Bruins have over both of these teams is regulation and overtime wins (ROW), the tiebreaker if two or more teams are tied in points. If either the Maple Leafs or the Panthers jump the Bruins for the last division-guaranteed playoff spot they still will have a chance to make the playoffs as one of the two wild card teams. Of course, if we want to be optimistic the Bruins still have a chance to leap the Senators and finish second in the division to secure home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Personally, we don't see that happening because the Senators are ahead of the Bruins by 2 points and have 2 games in hand. If the Bruins wind up playing for a wild card spot there is a third team who is chasing them: the New York Islanders. The Islanders currently trail the Bruins by 2 points but also have a game in hand on them.
What exactly does all of that mean? We found the current points per game (PPG) for the Bruins and each of the 3 teams chasing them in the playoff race. From there we projected how many points each team would have at the end of the season if they continued on the same exact pace. If all 4 teams continued on their same exact pace the Bruins would be projected to miss the playoffs by 0.17 points. However, since teams can't have fractions of points the Bruins would actually beat out the Maple Leafs via a tiebreaker (ROW). Another stat that looks positive from the Bruins point of view is that they have the weakest schedule for their remaining games. The "SOS Remaining" column in the chart denotes the team's rank in the Eastern Conference in terms of strength of remaining schedule (1 is the hardest 16 is the easiest). The Panthers have the hardest remaining schedule of the group and the 3rd hardest in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins are also 4-0 under Cassidy and don't show signs of slowing down. HockeyReference.com currently has the Bruins chances of making the playoffs at 56.1% but we believe those odds are definitely higher. We are very optimistic about the Bruins chances at making the playoffs and hopefully making a run at 2nd place in the division!