The Boston Bruins have a decent shot at finishing this season with the second best record in the NHL. However, with 103 points through 77 games played, they are still well behind the Tampa Bay Lightning and their 122 points in the standings.
So how will the Bruins be rewarded for the great season they're having? Well, they might end up having to play the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the playoffs, the No. 3 team in the Atlantic who has 97 points in the standings.
Needless to say, Cam Neely, the longtime Bruin turned team president, is not too fond of that prospect.
"Obviously the last couple years you look at it and say it’s maybe not fair when you’re the top teams in the league and you fight hard to get home ice advantage and that’s what you shoot for and, you know, then you end up playing some tough teams before you even get out of your division," Neely told reporters. "You know, we don’t want to look past anybody. We’ve got a really strong division with Toronto and Tampa, so would I like to see two play seven? Probably."
It is certainly an interesting concept. The Bruins are kind of being punished for playing in a good division under this format which is not great. They'll have a tough first round of the playoffs, assuming things shake out as expected.
The NHL's new playoff format where you essentially have to win out your division, then your conference is pretty unusual. It's going to have its criticisms, and it might even have some proponents. However, what is done is done and the best team in the NHL will likely be able to beat any team they go up against in a series so yeah, just win.