This is all mostly academic for the Bruins, with playoffs and even the once-threatened Northeast crown all but assured. Unlike the Penguins before the Islanders swept them, the Bruins don't have a shot at the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference, thought it's at least conceivable that they'd drop below the Panthers for the #2 seed.
Bruins (45-28-4, 4th/E, #2) @ Islanders (33-33-11, 13th/E)
1 p.m. EDT | MSG+ | Audio: NHL - WRHU
Nassau [gloriously unsponsored] Veterans Mem. Coliseum
Hoping the Real Tim Thomas Returns: Stanley Cup of Chowder
The Bruins have so many more regulation and OT wins that Florida would have to do more than just tie the Bruins in points though. Basically, Boston is almost assured of facing who ever finishes higher among the Senators, Capitals or Sabres in the first round.
The Islanders, well they're playing for the old pride, positive vibes -- and one more attempt to finally string four consecutive wins together, a feat that has eluded them all season long.
The Bruins dominated the first two meetings of this season series, laying down 6-0 and 6-2 thumpings that were almost a habit for the B's as they racked up an insane goal differential in the first half of the year. That differential tapered off, the Bruins have slowed down mightily, and their last meeting with the Isles at the beginning of the month was a 3-2 Isles win.
Of course Nathan Horton, who racked up 3-2-5 in the first two meetings, missed that third meeting and might not even return this season thanks to the Injury Sometimes Known as Upper Body.
Another difference from the first two games compared to the Islanders victory: Brian Rolston was in black and gold.
Meanwhile, if the Frans Nielsen-centered line with Josh Bailey and Kyle Okposo continues its hot run of secondary scoring, won't the B's be surprised. Don't know who would've expected the Isles to reel off 10 goals in two games against the Pens without one involving John Tavares, but it does make the pre-scout a little more interesting.
Ladies and gentlemen, #732 on your radar and #37 in your program, introducing John Grahame! Grahame has played 224 NHL games with a 97-86-14-9 (yes, he played before The People Demand a Winner shootout era) with a career .898 save percentage.
I would love to know how the conversation went with Grahame when they convinced him to come out for an April vacation on Long Island. I doubt it took much coaxing -- five games at an NHL salary and the outside chance of one more game? Sign me up! -- but it still had to be a story-worthy tale.