Bruins

Ryan: Playoff spot secure, Bruins still have an awful lot to play for over final week

Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The combined record of the last two clubs that dealt the Bruins a loss on home ice have a combined record of 65-66-25. Hockey, right?

Both results might be tough pills for this Bruins team to swallow following these respective defeats at the hands of the Rangers and Panthers, albeit any negative sentiments were likely lessened with context — given the fact that over two months passed between both losses for Boston.

At this point, Saturday’s 4-1 loss to Panthers at TD Garden — snapping a 12-0-0 run at the friendly confines on Causeway Street — should seem like an inconsequential result for the Bruins, who already locked up a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last weekend.

With just four games left over the final week of the regular season, now would be a time for most clubs that have already clinched a playoff berth to take their foot off the gas — whether it be curtailing the minutes of their top players or sitting them outright ahead of a grueling run through the playoffs.

But in a league with as much parity as the NHL, such a luxury will likely not be afforded to the Bruins, even with the 26-8-5 record that they’ve reeled off since the start of the new year.

Despite reserving their seat in the Eastern Conference playoff bracket, a cutthroat Atlantic Division hasn’t given the B’s much breathing room — with second place (and crucial home ice in the opening round of the postseason) still not locked up with four games to go.

Even with a 3-1 record against their all-but-guaranteed first-round foe in the Maple Leafs, the Bruins are not dispelling any of the advantages that home ice can bring to a team in the postseason — especially during a season in which Boston has posted a record of 29-8-3 record at TD Garden.