The Boston Bruins are currently in first place in the Atlantic. They are two points and a game ahead of the second place Lightning. With one more match-up against the Lightning coming up, Boston controls its own destiny. While winning the Atlantic is not necessary, it certainly makes Boston’s road to the Stanley Cup substantially easier. The Stanley Cup Playoffs start nine games from today, and right now the first round match-up would be Bruins vs Devils, and Lighting vs Maple Leafs.

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Inside the Match-Up

Do not be fooled, New Jersey is not going to be an easy match-up for the Bruins. But they will be the easier of the two. The Devils are a fast team with a well-rounded group of forwards headlined by Taylor Hall. They possess many of the same strengths that Toronto does, just on a lesser scale. The Bruins are going to have a hard time handling the Devils’ quickness up front, but should be able to minimize the damage.

Mainly since Tuukka Rask has excellent numbers against the Devils. In 13 career games, Tuukka has a 6-4-2 record with a .945 save percentage and a 1.59 goals allowed averag, along with two career shutouts. It’s not a stretch to say Rask has the Devils’ number. While the Devils are a team that should be respected, they should not be feared. The Bruins should be able to make quick work of New Jersey, which is why the Bruins should genuinely pursue the number one seed.

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Other Benefit

Of course there are obvious benefits to being the best team in the Eastern Conference. Guaranteed home ice until the finals is certainly something any team wants. But not only does Boston get an easier match-up against the Devils. It also forces Toronto and Tampa to go head to head. Toronto is the team to get behind in that series. Not because they are a team to be taken lightly, because they are not. Even though the Bruins are undefeated against the Lighting this season, the amount of pure talent on the Lightning roster is just insane and demands respect. For now the Bruins have to go take that number one seed and get ready for their first round match-up next week.