BostonBruins.com - Boston clinched the Atlantic Division on Saturday afternoon, with a 4-2 win over the Capitals in Washington, D.C.
Win No. 51 gave them 108 points on the season, one point above St. Louis' 107 as the Blues were set to face the Dallas Stars on Saturday night.
The Bruins extended their point streak to 15 games, at 14-0-1 with only a shootout loss included in that stretch. With the victory at the Verizon Center, they have won eight straight games on the road, matching the franchise record.
In the past 15 games, Jarome Iginla has led the way in scoring with 13 goals. His most recent pair of goals came in the win over the Capitals. His 30th of the season served as the game-winner.
"It's been fun to win games, and be battling with the top of the league, and to be on some streaks as a group, and to see them go in too," said Iginla.
In that order.
For Iginla and the Bruins, that's the order the operate on - and a testament to their success.
BostonBruins.com - With nine games remaining in the regular season, and only two regulation losses in their past 27 games, the Bruins are still battling on.
"Nine?" questioned Shawn Thornton, as he rested in his locker stall after practice at Ristuccia Arena on Friday in Wilmington, MA.
"Nine," was the confirmation, for the Bruin who always preaches the team's game-by-game mindset. Case in point.
"Alright," he responded, in a 'bring it on' type of tone.
No time to take it easy.
"No. I think things have been going well, but we don't really look backwards, we just continue to try and play our game these next couple of weeks, so can't get rusty, can't let your guard down," said Thornton, who always has a simple, no-bones-about-it approach when giving a read on the Black & Gold.
"We want to be playing good hockey, so that's the goal now."
The Bruins have accomplished that to this point, throughout the past couple of months, and especially in the month of March, which ends with a back-to-back on the road against the Washington Capitals on Saturday and Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday.
"I think Philly, Wash, they're always good games with us, so I think it's another good test going into this weekend," said Thornton. "Not really letting up, keep going, but that's what we want anyways. I think the way we're built; we want challenges."
WILMINGTON, MA - The outlook for Adam McQuaid appears optimistic after a frustrating injury-marred for the Bruins defenseman.
On Friday afternoon, when Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien was asked about McQuaid's progress, the bench boss responded right away.
"He's being ramped up right now, off ice," said Julien. "He's going in the right direction as we speak."
McQuaid's teammates had just finished hitting the ice for a practice at Ristuccia Arena, while he was taking part in his off-ice workouts.
"I don't know exactly when you're going to see him on the ice, but right now, things are going well for him."
Back on March 5, General Manager Peter Chiarelli had announced that McQuaid was being shut down for two to three weeks to rest his quad strain before beginning rehab again.
The defenseman had been close to a return after the Olympic Break, before re-aggravating it. He's missed a combined 42 games with lower body injuries heading into the Bruins' back-to-back games on March 29 and 30 against the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers.
BOSTON - Following a 3-0 shutout of the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night, the Bruins are 13-0-1 in their past 14 games. Their last regulation loss came on March 1.
In their past 10 games, they have allowed two goals or less. Two of those games have been shutouts.
"It’s not something you really are always thinking about, that I knew," said Patrice Bergeron, of the stats. "It is something that is part of our game as a team as a whole. We are a defense type of team and we get some offense with playing defensively sound."
"So I think we have to keep that going."
It's no secret that Boston's pride stems from their defensive responsibility. Their structure and layers - when executed - give them the results they want.
"We’re in the right position right now, as far as where you want to be at this time of year," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. "Almost every gameday morning, we spend time looking at an area where we feel might have slipped a little bit. So, we’re staying on top of things, too."
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."