Two wins in three games -- that's what the Bruins need to make the playoffs a certainty.
The point the Bruins recently garnered against the Sabres was a big one. Even if they run the table the Sabres can only manage a final tally of 91 points, which is where the Bruins stand now.
So that leaves Washington, and perhaps Carolina, as the remaining teams that could potentially squeeze the B's out of the post season. Washington can end the season with no more than 94 points, which is three more than the Bruins current total. If the B's pick up three more points then they will end in a tie with the Caps. But if that happens the Caps would have the tie breaker based on games won: the Caps would end the season with 43 wins and the B's would end with 41. So three points isn't good enough. The Bruins would be out.
Carolina stands at 90 points with three games remaining. The key game is the one between the Caps and Canes on Tuesday. About that game I know two things: I'll be watching, and I'll be rooting for the Canes. There are two basic scenarios to consider if both teams win their other two remaining games, which is quite likely given their opponents. If the Caps beat the Canes the Caps will finish with 94 points and manage a tie with the Canes, but with more wins the Canes have the tie breaker. So the only way the Caps can unseat the Canes and win their division is if the Canes lose or tie one of their other two games. If that happens, then the Canes would lose their No. 3 spot in the conference and finish with no more than 93 points. In that case the Bruins could squeak in with just three more points. But I wouldn't count on it. A better scenario is for the Canes to win. In that case the B's would face a Caps team with a mere 92 points. The Bruins would need only two more points to beat them out.
To recap the most likely scenarios:
If the Caps beat the Canes the B's would need four points. If the Canes beat the Caps two points would do the trick.
Regardless, if the Bruins win two more games nobody can catch them.