The possible opponents of the Bruins in the first round are probably Penguins, Panthers

The possible opponents of the Bruins in the first round are probably Penguins, Panthers originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The group of NHL teams with a strong shot at a second wildcard playoff spot in the Eastern Conference has narrowed over the past week.

The Washington Capitals have lost six of their last seven games. The Buffalo Sabers have lost five of their last seven games. The Ottawa Senators have lost four of their last eight games.

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As a result, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Florida Panthers have the best chances of earning the second wildcard spot. The New York Islanders are the frontrunners for the #1 wildcard spot.

The Boston Bruins won the Presidents’ Trophy, the No. 1 overall and home ice advantage during the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs as a result of their win Thursday night. You will face off against the #2 wildcard team in the first round.

Here’s an updated look at the leaderboard for wildcards coming in on Friday.


  1. New York Islanders: 76 GP, 39-28-9 (87 points)

  2. Pittsburgh Penguins: 75 GP, 37-28-10 (84 points)

In the mix

  • Florida Panthers: 76 GP, 38-31-7 (83 points)

  • Ottawa Senators: 75 GP, 37-33-5 (79 points)

  • Buffalo Sabers: 73 GP, 35-31-7 (77 points)

  • Washington Capitals: 76 GP, 34-33-9 (77 points)

The Athletics latest forecasts finished as the second wildcard team, the Penguins with 92.2 points, including a 67 percent chance of making the playoffs. The Florida Panthers still have a good chance of securing the second wildcard spot as well. Athletic’s model gives the Panthers a predicted total score of 90.5.

A Bruins-Penguins first-round streak would be fun. Both teams have many veterans and several former Stanley Cup winners. Despite being two of the most successful Eastern Conference franchises over the past 15 years, the Bruins and Penguins have met only once in the playoffs during that span. It was the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals that the Bs won with a surprise win.

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The Bruins are 2-0 up against the Penguins this season, including a 2-1 win at the 2023 winter classic at Fenway Park in January. They are playing in Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon for the third time in the regular season.

The Panthers won the Presidents’ Trophy last season and are among the most offensively gifted teams in the league. They have scored the fourth most goals with 258. However, Florida is not a very strong defensive team, ranking 23rd in both goals allowed and save. The Panthers are one of two teams to beat the Bruins twice this season.

The Bruins and Panthers only met once in the playoffs, when Florida eliminated Boston in the first round in five games in 1996.

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