The Boston Bruins have known for a while that they'll be the No. 1 overall seed and have home ice advantage throughout the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. And on Thursday night we'll finally learn which team the Bruins will play in the first round.
It's possible for the Bruins to play the Florida Panthers or New York Islanders. Both of these teams have clinched a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, but neither one is locked into its current position.
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The Bruins will play the No. 2 wild card in Round 1. The Metropolitan Division winner, which could be the Carolina Hurricanes or New Jersey Devils, will play the No. 1 wild card team in the first round.
Here are the scenarios for the Bruins entering Thursday night:
- If the Hurricanes beat the Panthers, the Bruins will play the Panthers in the first round
- If the Panthers beat the Hurricanes, the Bruins will play the Islanders in the first round
If the Panthers and Islanders finish tied with 93 points, Florida would be the No. 2 wild card team and play the Bruins. New York has the regulation and overtime wins (ROW) tiebreaker.
It's worth noting the Hurricanes have plenty of incentive to beat the Panthers on Thursday night. Any kind of Carolina victory would clinch the Metro title. Any loss for the 'Canes, combined with any kind of Devils victory over the Washington Capitals, would give New Jersey the division title.
The dates and times of the Bruins' first-round series have not yet been announced. That information could come as soon as Thursday night once the four series in each conference are finalized.