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Predicting Bruins-Lightning schedule is a Buzz-kill

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  May 10, 2011 08:19 AM

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It's as simple as this: The schedule for the Bruins-Lightning Eastern Conference Finals is dependent only on LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Joe Thornton, Pavel Datsyuk, Buzz Lightyear, and Lots-A-Love Bear. Pretty basic, right?

OK, let's begin with easiest scenarios. If the San Jose Sharks can close out the Detroit Red Wings tonight, the Bruins should host the Lightning Thursday night in Game 1. If the Wings push it to a Game 7 Thursday night, we'd likely get underway at the Garden on Saturday. That is, unless the Celtics fall to the Heat in Game 5 tomorrow night in Miami, in which case the Bruins and Lightning could potentially have Causeway Street on Friday night, when Game 6 of the NBA playoff series is scheduled to be played if necessary in Boston.

But getting the series started is just the beginning of the NHL scheduling logistics, as Disney's Toy Story on Ice has the St. Pete Times Forum booked May 19-22, a stretch during which Games 4 and 5 might have been scheduled to play in Florida. If the league follows a Saturday-Monday-Wednesday schedule, the Bruins and Lightning could be facing either a four-day layoff, or the prospect of playing back-to-back days unless the league buys out one of the shows. Think of the children? Buzz and Woody will skate seven times over those four days, so axing one show and substituting those tickets with another isn't the worst-case scenario.

If they do end up spacing out, a potential Game 7 may not be played until May 29 over Memorial Day Weekend. The Flyers and Blackhawks played Game 1 of last year's Stanley Cup Finals on that date.

So, suffice to say, things could get interesting. Unless the Sharks just win tonight. So, please, Joe, would you?

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About the Author

Eric Wilbur is a Boston.com sports columnist who is still in awe of what Dana Kiecker pulled off that one time in Toronto. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children. Comments and suggestions for the best Buffalo wing spots are encouraged.

Contact Eric Wilbur by e-mail or follow him on Twitter.

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