Updated Bruins first-round matchup, playoff opponent scenarios originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The Boston Bruins are the favorites to win the Stanley Cup amid a historic 2022-23 regular season that includes an NHL record 64 victories.
Boston has been the best team in the league for the entire season and, as a result of winning the Presidents' Trophy, will have home ice advantage throughout the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Get Boston local news, weather forecasts, lifestyle and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Boston’s newsletters.
Bruins' historic turnaround in less than a year has been extraordinary
But we still don't know which team will play the Bruins in the first round. However, we do know the Bruins will square off against the second wild card team in the Eastern Conference.
Four teams are still in the mix for that second wild card berth (last updated April 12 at 10 a.m. ET):
- WC1: Florida Panthers: 42-31-8, 92 points
- WC2: New York Islanders: 41-31-9, 91 points
- Pittsburgh Penguins: 40-31-10, 90 points
Here are the remaining schedules for these four teams.
- Florida Panthers: April 13 vs. Hurricanes
- New York Islanders: April 12 vs. Canadiens
- Pittsburgh Penguins: April 13 at Blue Jackets
The Buffalo Sabres' loss to the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night eliminated them from playoff contention. The Panthers clinched a playoff berth as a result of the Sabres' and Pittsburgh Penguins' losses Tuesday night. The Penguins lost to the Chicago Blackhawks, which means they no longer control their own destiny. The Islanders will clinch a playoff berth and eliminate the Penguins if they defeat the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night. Pittsburgh needs to beat the Blue Jackets on Thursday and have the Islanders lose to the Canadiens on Wednesday.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
The toughest Round 1 opponent for the Bruins is probably the New York Islanders. The Islanders play a tough, aggressive style of hockey and have one of the league's best goaltenders in Ilya Sorokin.
The Bruins know where they'll be starting the upcoming playoffs. The real question is which team will make its way to TD Garden for Game 1. We'll find out in the coming days.