Homing In

by

For just the 17th time this season the Boston Bruins won a game on home ice and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Last night’s 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden not only brought the team’s home record up to the barely respectable .500 mark, but it vaulted them into the 7th playoff spot in the East, a point ahead of Philly in the 8th and tied with 6th place Montreal, on whom they still have one game in hand.

Not a bad position, really, all things considered.

The really intersting part of all this is the Rangers-Flyers home and home series that starts tonight which will decide the final playoff spot in the East. The Rangers will need to win both games to edge Philly out but a longshot scenario could still prevent the Bruins from getting in if everything fell a certain way. The B’s would have to lose both their remaining games outright, which is still a possibility with Carolina (tomorrow’s opponent, at home) playing well and enjoying the spoiler role and Washington (Sunday, on the road) being so dominant in their own building. If that were to happen and the Rangers grabbed 3 of the 4 available points from the Flyers, the B’s would be out.

It’s a longshot but not at all impossible. The Bruins, of course, could make it all irrelevant with a single point in their remaining two games. The Rangers could settle the whole thing tonight at MSG if they don’t come out with points. Then there’s the matter of positioning, where the Bruins could actually leap over the Habs into 6th if they play well or end up as cannon fodder for the Caps if they end up in that 8th slot.

One way or the other, a very interesting weekend of hockey begins tonight with that first New York-Philly game. Essentially, for those two teams, the 2010 Playoffs start tonight and for hockey fans, it’s a little early post-season appetizer to devour as we get ready for the real feasting to begin next week.

Game on!

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