BOSTON - The Blackhawks' return to TD Garden ice was inevitable. Boston had to first revisit the memories from Game 6 of last year's Stanley Cup Final back in January, when the Black & Gold faced the Hawks in Chicago.
That game resulted in a 3-2 shootout loss for the Bruins, but it was a hard-fought battle, and the only kind of play expected when these two teams match up.
"Nobody in the dressing room is going to forget that we played them in the Finals last year, no one is going to forget any of that," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. "But I think [Thursday] is not about remembering that, more than knowing it's going to be a good game between two good teams, and we should look forward to it."
Bruins alternate captain David Krejci is certainly embracing the challenge.
"It's going to be a good game. They have a really good team and I feel like we have a really good team as well, so it's going to be a good game," he said, simply and to the point.
Does it mean more than that, though?
BOSTON - When the hair was swept away, and the Bruins all donned newly shaved heads, the 7th Annual Cuts for a Cause had raised a record-setting $118,340 for children battling cancer.
Hosted by Shawn Thornton and 98.5 The Sports Hub at Boston Park Plaza Hotel, more than a thousand fans and supporters filtered in to watch as the Bruins and his teammates had their heads shaved for charity.
In its seventh year, the event (first started by former Bruin Aaron Ward) has grown each time, both in numbers and funds raised.
When Cuts for a Cause was first put on by the Bruins in 2008, it raised $25,000. That number had jumped to $76,000 by the time 2013 came around, and went over the 100k mark for the first time in 2014.
All proceeds go towards the Shawn Thornton Foundation, the Boston Bruins Foundation and Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center.
It's a testament to the Boston faithful and supporters around the community.
BOSTON, MA - The Bruins' physicality defines their game. The hard hits, the battling and gritty play blended with their strong forecheck often yields the results they want.
But only when that emotion doesn't take over, and especially against their age-old rivals.
On Monday night, with the Montreal Canadiens visiting TD Garden, the Bruins knew what type of game would play out. But for them, it ended in a 2-1 shootout loss that snapped the League's longest winning streak of the season at 12 games.
Early in the first period, just over a minute in, Milan Lucic took a hit from Alexei Emelin. Zdeno Chara reacted and received a roughing penalty as a result. The Bruins killed it off, but it would be a precursor to their first 40 minutes of play.
Kevan Miller had been called for a cross-check on Dale Weise. The knowingly strong Miller then stood up for himself, when Travis Moen challenged him to a fight.
But it wasn't necessarily those types of penalties that plagued the Bruins, who ended the night with 17 penalty minutes, having to kill off four penalties alone in the second period.
BOSTON, MA - The Bruins are on a 12-game winning streak. Everyone outside of their dressing room has to keep reminding them of that.
"What streak?" Chris Kelly said, stone-faced, on Monday morning, as he met with media following the team's pregame skate at TD Garden, with Bruins vs. Habs on tap for that evening.
The alternate captain, of course, soon added a smile and proceeded to think about the streak, because he was being asked about the streak.
"You know, obviously we do know things are going well," he said. "But I've been on streaks before, where you're so happy to be a on a streak that it's kind of your mindset, like 'oh, let's win the next one.'"
"It's not really the case this time. You know, we're just going out and playing. If we play well, we have a chance to win. If we don't play well, we don't have a chance to win. Every line has been contributing, and all six D and both goalies have been playing really well. It's been a collective effort from everyone."
Boston hosts Montreal on Monday night at TD Garden, coming off of their three-game, week-long road trip through New Jersey, Colorado and Arizona.
BostonBruins.com - Get one last look at the full heads of hair on Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug this weekend, because when the 7th Annual Cuts For a Cause comes around on next Wednesday, March 26, the flow will be no more.
Once again, Shawn Thornton is teaming up with 98.5 The Sports Hub and his teammates to host the annual event, which raises funds for children battling cancer, through the Shawn Thornton Foundation, Boston Bruins Foundation and Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center.
The money raised has tripled since the Bruins' Cuts For a Cause event first began in 2008, with Aaron Ward leading the charge. More than $260,000 has been raised through the first six years, and 2014 should add considerably to that total.
"It's been going on for seven years now, I took it over after Aaron Ward left, and it keeps on getting bigger and bigger and bigger, and we've got an even bigger venue this year," said Thornton.
BostonBruins.com - It's been a season of milestones for Jarome Iginla. But, then again, every season nearly is for the likely future Hall of Famer and veteran of now 17 NHL seasons.
On March 17, Iginla played in his 1300th career NHL game. He fired in two goals in the Bruins' 4-1 win over Minnesota to reach his 14th 25-goal season. It placed him at 555 career goals, just one goal shy of catching Bruins legend Johnny "The Chief" Bucyk on the all-time goals list (556).
Chief had joked with Iginla at the beginning of the season, that the Bruin would catch him.
"Pretty cool," Iginla had admitted.
Whether they're forced milestones, rounded numbers or significant achievements, Iginla's at the point in his career where everything keeps adding up.
"I think it would be tough for him to keep track," Chris Kelly laughed, when I asked if they keep track for him. "1300 games."
The Bruins' alternate captain took a few seconds to let that sink in, and then shook his head slightly.
"That’s a lot of hockey games."
BOSTON, MA - On Monday night, the Bruins quickly hustled around the locker room at TD Garden packing their Black & Gold hockey bags before catching their flight to New Jersey.
It was already back to business, following their 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild.
'Does a nine-game win streak actually mean anything?' Bruins' alternate captain Chris Kelly was asked, as he stood in his postgame workout clothes.
"Not really," he remarked, to a round of laughs among the handful of gathered reporters, who weren't too surprised by his answer.
"It’s nice to win. It’s better than losing, but at the end of the day, it’s all about the next game. It’s about New Jersey tomorrow and we’ll go from there."
The Bruins now have just 14 games left until the postseason begins. Following their win over the Wild - which gave them the second longest winning streak in the NHL this season at nine games - they next face the Devils at the Prudential Center at Tuesday night, giving them yet another chance to continue fine-tuning their game.
BOSTON, MA - Torey Krug fired in a wrister with 9.4 on the clock to cap off a 5-1 win for the Bruins over Carolina on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.
Cam Ward two-handed his stick on the cross bar in frustration.
Boston had put up a three-goal third period. They got commitment - and got rewarded - until the final buzzer.
The Black & Gold are now an eight-game winning streak, spanning back to March 2. It marks their longest since a ten-game stretch in November of 2011. And there was no sign coming from their locker room that there would be any letting up.
"I think you just go out on a nightly basis, you’re trying to fine-tune your game," said Krug. "I’m not worried about it because we have leaders in here that will take care of that when the time comes."
"We’re playing good hockey. We’re still fine-tuning some things. Defensively, we’re playing well right now. Our goalies are unbelievable, as usual. We’re scoring goals, everything’s coming together well."
'How do you not get complacent?' I had asked Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien heading into this game.
"Easy," he said responded. "You don't look at it that way - and we don't. We haven't even talked about that. We just talk about game by game, and it just seems to give us a better feeling and a better focus. So that’s the way you don’t get content or comfortable and you keep plugging away."
WILMINGTON, MA - On Friday morning, the Bruins recalled forward Matt Lindblad from Providence. He joined the team for their optional skate at Ristuccia Arena, and there's a chance he could be in Boston's lineup on Saturday when they host the Carolina Hurricanes in a matinee at TD Garden.
It would mark his NHL debut, on his second NHL recall.
Lindblad received his first recall to the big club on February 24, towards the end of the Olympic Break, when the Black & Gold needed some reinforcements for practice with Olympians Patrice Bergeron and Loui Eriksson getting their rest.
Following the NHL's trade deadline, each team is limited to four non-emergency callups from their minor league affiliates until the affiliate's season has ended. Once that time comes, unlimited recalls are allowed, provided that a player is signed to one its 50 contract slots.
The Bruins utilized one of those callups for Lindblad.
In his first full AHL season, the forward has skated in 43 games for the P-Bruins, recording seven goals and 15 assists for 22 points. He's coming off of a two-assist game in Providence's 9-3 win over the Adirondack Phantoms last Sunday.
WILMINGTON, MA - The Bruins held on optional skate on Friday at Ristuccia Arena following back-to-back wins against Montreal and Phoenix.
Daniel Paille was on the ice skating for the third straight day in his recovery from a concussion sustained on Sunday, March 9, in Florida against the Panthers.
"We felt it was a real minor concussion, but you know, protocol is what it is, and you have to respect that," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien had said after Paille had first returned to the ice on Wednesday in Montreal. "And right now, he’s just going through the stages and is doing very well."
He's missed two games while going through the proper concussion protocol, but has had no setbacks in his quick progression. While there were only seven Bruins on the ice for the optional skate on Friday (including goalie Chad Johnson), Paille took contact with them.
Right when the Bruins forward got off the ice in Wilmington, he met with media for the first time since being deemed out with the minor concussion. At that time, he had not yet been cleared for game action, but was meeting with doctors later in the day.