The Bruins got fortunate after the Maple Leafs lost 3-2 to the Blue Jackets on Sunday, which moved Boston back into the third seed in the Atlantic Division, where they would matchup against Ottawa in the first round. If Toronto had beaten Columbus, the Bruins would have played the Capitals, the winner of the President's Trophy, but instead they get a first-ever playoff meeting with the Senators.
After firing longtime coach Claude Julien on February 7, interim head coach Bruce Cassidy led the Bruins to an 18-8-1 record to end the regular season, which propelled them into the playoffs after missing them the last two years.
Leading the Bruins this season was Brad Marchand, who had a career high with 39 goals and 46 assists for 85 points, and also led the team with 81 penalty minutes. His spearing infraction in the Tampa Bay game got him suspended for the last two games of the regular season, and the team hopes that he'll stay on his head and help them get to the next round.
The winner of the seventh man award was David Pastrnak, who had a career year with 34 goals and 36 assists for 70 points, and he'll bring his best to be a menace on the ice for the Bruins. Two other players with productive seasons were David Krejci with 23 goals and 31 assists for 54 points, and Patrice Bergeron with 21 goals and 32 assists for 53 points.
On the other hand, Ottawa's point leader was their Captain and defenseman Erik Karlsson, who had 17 goals and 54 assists for 71 points. Their leading scorer was Kyle Turris with 27 goals, followed by Mike Hoffman with 26, and Mark Stone with 22.
The Senators swept the Bruins in their regular season series, as Ottawa claimed 3-1, 4-2, 3-2, and 2-1 victories. That matters no more at this point, as whoever is able to win 4 games in the best of 7 will move on the next round.
Before this series begins, the Bruins had to make some moves due to some injuries on the team. With top defensemen Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo getting hurt in the last two games of the season, 19-year-old Charlie McAvoy was called up from the AHL affiliate Providence Bruins and will likely make his NHL debut in this playoff round. Backup goaltender Anton Khudobin was also injured in the game against Washington, so goalie Zane McIntyre was called up to take on the reserve duties to starter Tuukka Rask.
This will be a difficult series for the Bruins to achieve four wins, but if they can put the regular season sweep behind them, then they can focus on what's in front of them and aim to move to the next round. The Bruins have a daunting task ahead of them with the banged up roster, but if they can wear out the Senators, I can see them taking this series in 6 games and advancing to the next round.
Game one takes place on Wednesday in Ottawa at 7 p.m. est.