By Mike Harrington
Because of today's events surrounding the manhunt in Boston, the National Hockey League has postponed tonight's Penguins-Bruins game at TD Garden and will try to play it tomorrow at 12:30.
The change has a big impact on the Sabres because they were scheduled to play the Penguins tomorrow night in Consol Energy Center. That game, however, has been moved to Tuesday at 7:30.
So the Sabres will now play two straight home games -- tonight against the New York Rangers and Monday against Winnipeg -- against teams directly above them in the standings. For those who live outside Buffalo, the NHL Network has picked up the telecast of tonight's Sabres-Rangers game in place of the Bruins-Penguins match. Locally, the Sabres game will air on MSG as usual.
The Boston Police Department has also announced the postponement of tonight's Red Sox-Royals game -- which was to be first at Fenway Park since Monday's bombings at the Boston Marathon. The NHL release says the Bruins-Penguins game will be formalized no later than 8:30 a.m. Saturday, as it could obviously still be a no-go based on events in Boston and its suburbs.
While it has no significance when compared to the tragedy in Boston, the Bruins are facing a real scheduling crunch at the end of their season. They are already slated to make up Monday's postponement against Ottawa on April 28, the day after the regular season was to end, and an earlier snowout against Tampa Bay on April 25.
If they have any more issues with the schedule, it's quite possible Boston could be forced into a three-games-in-three-days scenario, something that is generally not done in the NHL. The Bruins are also running up against the scheduled start of the Stanley Cup playoffs on April 30 and building dates because the Celtics will need the Garden for their first-round NBA playoff series against the New York Knicks.
As it stands now, the Bruins finish with six games in nine days (four at home, two on the road). It's not feasible for the NHL to simply wipe any of the games out, like the NBA did with a Celtics-Pacers game on Tuesday, because they impact seeding for the playoffs and standings for the June draft.