By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
With the NHL and NHLPA officially ratifying their Return-To-Play plans on Friday, the Boston Bruins finally have a date circled for the official restart of their 2020 Redemption Tour.
Despite finishing the season as the league’s top team following a Game 7 Stanley Cup Final loss on home ice, the Bruins will be among the four Eastern Conference teams competing in a round-robin to determine seeding for the 2020 postseason. They’ll be joined in this tourney by the Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Washington Capitals.
The tournament will be played under normal regular season rules, with five-minute overtimes and a shootout for any tied contests, and with wins worth two points.
It’s important to note that the Bruins would have a tiebreaker advantage over any team they’re tied with in points, too, as they possessed the best point percentage in the NHL at the time of the Mar. 12 pause. (Example: If the Bruins and Lightning each have a tournament-best six points at the conclusion of the tournament, the Bruins would assume the role of the No. 1 seed, as they had a better point percentage during the regular season.)
Note: the start times for these games, and every other game for that matter, will be determined at a later date, according to the NHL.
Here’s the complete schedule for the B’s round-robin tournament contests…
Sunday, Aug. 2 vs. Philadelphia Flyers
The B’s will kick off their round-robin with a head-to-head with the Flyers. The Flyers finished the regular season as the East’s fourth-best team by way of their .645 point percentage, and were one of the league’s hottest teams at the time of the Mar. 12 pause, with wins in 19 of their last 29 games. The Bruins went 1-0-2 against Philadelphia during the 2019-20 regular season, with both losses coming via the shootout. The Bruins will be considered the home team in this game, giving them the benefit of last change.
Wednesday, Aug. 5 vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
The top two teams in the Atlantic, the Bruins finished the regular season with an eight-point lead over the Bolts for first place in the division. The Lightning took three of their four in-season meetings with the B’s, but were in the midst of a slide at the time of the pause (just three wins and seven points over their last 10 games). They’re also healthier than they would’ve been under normal postseason circumstances, with captain Steven Stamkos scheduled to be back in action after a core injury that was slated to keep him out of action for the first round of the postseason in a non-pandemic interrupted season. The Lightning also had a COVID-19 scare early into Phase 2, but have since been allowed back into their team facilities. (The Bruins are considered the home team in this contest as well.)
Saturday, Aug. 8 vs. Washington Capitals
The Bruins will complete the tourney with a meeting against their greatest roadblock in the East over the last eight years– The Capitals. If you’re looking for positives heading into this contest, it should be with Boston’s 7-3 beatdown against Braden Holtby & Co. in their last meeting (all the way back on Dec. 23). This will be Boston’s lone ‘road’ game of the three-game tourney.