It’s been since the end of the 1983-84 Celtics and Bruins seasons that both teams finished atop the standings in their conferences, but that scenario is still in play for this year.
The Celtics have eight regular-season games left and are three and a half games behind Toronto for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins have seven games left and are one point behind Tampa Bay in the NHL’s Eastern Conference.
The Bruins are in the better spot to overtake the leader. The Lightning only have 6 games left, giving Boston an extra chance to rack up points. The Bruins and Lightning also play head-to-head twice before the regular-season ends.
The Celtics have a tougher path since they’ve played one fewer game than the Raptors, but they also have two chances against the team they’re chasing to make up ground. They also have winnable games against the Bulls, Hawks, and Nets. The Celtics’ remaining schedule (.504 average winning percentage among future opponents) is easier than that of the Raptors (.550).
The Celtics finished first in the NBA’s Eastern Conference last season. The Bruins haven’t won the NHL’s Eastern Conference since the end of the 2013-14 season.
The last time they both won the regular-season crown, postseason results were a mixed bag. The Celtics won the 1984 NBA Championship, but the Bruins, who’d tied with the Islanders for the top spot in what was then the Prince of Wales Conference, were swept 3-0 by the Canadiens in the 1984 division semifinals.
Both teams won their divisions in both 2010-11 and 2011-12. The Bruins went all the way in the 2011 playoffs, capturing the Stanley Cup while the Celtics swept the Knicks in round one only to lose to the Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals. In the 2012 playoffs, the Bruins lost their first playoff series to the Capitals in game seven while the Celtics won a series each against the Hawks and 76ers before falling to the Heat in seven games in the Eastern Conference finals.Nora Princiotti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @NoraPrinciotti.