By Matthew Cunha
A week ago on Wednesday night, the Boston Bruins knocked off the Calgary Flames to win their fourth straight game and kill the Flames 10-game win streak and the Bruins were just 4 points behind the Canadiens for 1st place in the Atlantic division. Optimism was blooming in Bruins-land for the first time in what seems like a century. The question was no longer would the Bruins make the playoffs, it was where would they be seeded and how far were they going to go? One week later, it’s a whole different story.
The Bruins fell to Edmonton after giving up 7 goals on Thursday, lost on a late power play goal to Toronto on Monday, and couldn’t keep the game tied in third period on Tuesday night vs Ottawa. This script looks all too familiar for the black and gold. In fact, I had nightmares after Tuesday night’s loss. The Bruins went 3-8-1 in the final 12 games of last season and losers of 9 of the final 14 in the season before that. Can this possible be happening again? As my high school English teacher told me, things tend to take place in threes.
This year, things do feel different. Throughout the past two seasons you felt like the Bruins were not a playoff team despite being in position for most of the regular season. The collapses were predictable, but his season the Bruins fell behind the eight ball with Julien and despite being in the mix, they never really had a true playoff spot. That was until Bruce Cassidy took over. Since then, even with the three recent loses, the Bruins have gone 12-6 and earned their way back into a spot.
More positivity; the Bruins have not lost to a team below them in the standings. The past two seasons these gut wrenching losses derailed them. The loss to Edmonton was a back to back on the end of a long west coast road trip. Both loses to Toronto and Ottawa were tough luck type of games. The Bruins did not make enough plays to get the wins versus the opponent’s closest to them in the Atlantic division. The Bruins are 0-7 vs those two teams this season. Discomforting yes, but not type of loses that make you think the ship is falling apart.
The Bruins three game losing streak put them just one point ahead of Toronto for the third spot in the Atlantic and Toronto has two games in hand. It is not looking good for the Bruins. That spot would likely put the Bruins up against the Ottawa Senators rather than juggernauts like Washington or Pittsburgh. At this point, the B’s just need to get in anyway or anywhere possible. The Bruins do have a 4 point cushion over the Islanders for that wild card spot if Toronto were to pass them. The Tampa Bay Lightning are 5 points back. The Bruins next two games: The Lightning and the Islanders.
Wins in the next two games, and the Bruins would shush the collapse talk and put themselves in a very comfortable position to make the playoffs with seven games left. The panic button is not pressed just yet, but just like when your girlfriend mentions that you might need to talk, you can see that panic button glowing. A loss on Thursday night to the Lightning and: well let’s not think about it. Let’s just say that my nightmares would only become too real.
Matthew Cunha is a producer on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.