BOSTON, MA - With less than seven minutes left in the second period on Thursday night at TD Garden, Johnny Boychuk fearlessly slid across the crease in front of Tuukka Rask and blocked away a shot from Phoenix Coyote Oliver Ekman-Larsson point-blank.
The Boston blueliner lost his stick in the process, so Matt Bartkowski quickly pushed it towards him with just enough time for him to pick it up and clear the puck up the ice and out of the zone.
The Bruins' 2-0 lead they had built in the first period, thanks to goals from Zdeno Chara and Jarome Iginla, remained in tact. They would go on to earn the 2-1 win over Phoenix, and pick up their seventh straight victory.
"I see commitment from everybody," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said postgame. "It’s pretty obvious, when you play the number of games that you’ve played, and you look at the way you’ve played, there’s a pretty good commitment right now from our guys."
Boychuk's block wasn't the only indication on the night.
With the Bruins holding their 2-1 lead late in the period, and fatigue setting in from playing their second game in the past 24 hours, Coyote Antoine Vermette nearly tied the game.
BostonBruins.com - The Bruins weren't about to let their strong play end in Montreal.
The Canadiens took it to them early on Wednesday night at the Bell Centre, but the Black & Gold flew back to Boston with a 4-1 win, a successful road trip and six-game winning streak in tow.
"It would be a shame to not give our best effort on this last game," Gregory Campbell had said prior to the matchup.
Boston had already picked up four points down in Florida against the Lightning and the Panthers.
"We talked about our mindset going into this game. It was just about focusing on what we've done well up until this point, especially on this road trip," Milan Lucic said postgame, after notching his 20th goal of the season.
"And we just wanted to play to our strengths and you don't forget, when you lose a game the way you did last time."
When Boston last played the Canadiens at TD Garden, they fell 4-1. They gave themselves trouble, and didn't play their game.
MONTREAL, QC - Daniel Paille was back skating on Wednesday morning at the Bell Centre when the Bruins held an optional pregame skate before facing the Canadiens.
It's a great sign moving forward for the winger, who was deemed out with a concussion. He took a hit on his first shift Sunday against the Panthers, and did not return to the game.
Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien had stressed postgame on Sunday in Sunrise, FL, that he was told by the doctors "it's not very serious." He had seen Paille after the game and he was feeling pretty good.
It was the second concussion sustained by Paille this season, after he suffered the first one of his career back in December while the Bruins were on a road trip through Western Canada. That concussion was more serious, and he missed seven games as a result.
The Bruins were off on Monday in Florida, so Tuesday's practice in Montreal is the only day that Paille was kept off the ice. He's currently in the midst of going through the proper protocol.
MONTREAL, QC - On Wednesday night in Montreal, the Bruins will face the Canadiens will meet for the 724th time during the regular season.
Always an intense rivalry, with nine of the last 10 games ending in one-goal decisions, Boston hasn't had as much luck against the Habs lately. The Black & Gold dropped the first two games of the season series, and are 0-4-1 in their last five games versus the division rivals.
But it's not so much what the bleu, blanc et rouge are doing; it's what the Bruins are not.
"I can tell you one thing: I don’t think we’ve played well against them. Have they given us trouble, or are we giving ourselves trouble?" said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien.
"So hopefully [tonight] I’ll paint a different picture and hopefully, if we play the way we’ve played lately, I think it’s going to be a great game, so we've just got to focus on that."
The Bruins are on a five-game winning streak, their longest of the season. They took care of business down South against the Lightning and Panthers, and are focused on closing out the road trip strong, especially against the Habs, and facing another back-to-back that concludes at home on Thursday night against Phoenix.
MONTREAL, QC - The Bruins were all together at dinner on Monday night in Florida, when they received some startling news.
Their friend and former teammate Rich Peverley had collapsed on the bench from a cardiac event during the Dallas Stars' game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at American Airlines Center. He was in stable condition.
"Rich Peverley is resting comfortably and being monitored at UT Southwestern St. Paul. He is currently undergoing testing to discover what triggered the cardiac event last night," Stars General Manager Jim Nill said in a statement.
"Rich has been communicating with his teammates and friends. He is extremely grateful for all of the prayers and support that he’s received from fans and friends alike."
On Tuesday, the the Bruins flew to Montreal. When they met with media following their practice at the Bell Centre, the focus was centered around concern for "Pevs."
SUNRISE, FL - The Bruins faced a few challenges heading into Sunday's night tilt against the Panthers. They were facing a back-to-back, after traveling from Tampa Bay and playing nearly 19 hours after their 4-3 shootout win over the Lightning, with a lost hour from Daylight Saving Time.
"I think there's a lot of challenges there, and you know, we're not going to make excuses about it but there are challenges there," Head Coach Claude Julien said prior to the matchup.
"So we've got to make sure that were that everybody's ready to pull in the same direction here."
And pull they did, as Boston put up a four-goal third period to take the 5-2 win over Florida to sweep the five-game season series.
With a trip to the Southern sun, the Bruins took four out of four points from the Lightning and Panthers, and now get to enjoy a day off from the ice and two days off from game action before heading back to the chill in Montreal.
"Obviously you want to take care of business first," Milan Lucic had said of the team's focus. "It'll make the day off much better if we get a win."
The victory gave the Bruins their fifth straight win, and longest winning streak of the season.
TAMPA, FL - Reilly Smith picked a prime time to find the back of the net.
In the seventh round of the shootout in Tampa on Saturday night, the Bruins forward scored the only goal to put his team on top, 4-3, over the Lightning. It was the only time they led all game.
"I went through a different number of players and then sometimes - I say it many times - you get that gut feeling and I said, 'you know what, this is probably a good chance for Smitty to get himself going,'" said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien.
"And I even told one of my assistant coaches [Doug Houda], it's going to end here, and he scored a big goal for us. So, hopefully that's a lot of weight off his shoulders and hopefully he can start finding his stride again."
"Yeah, it's been a while," said Smith, who found the back of the net for the first time in 11 games. "At the end of the day, it's good to just help the team get an extra point on that."
Rask played his part, too, not letting a single goal past in the shootout.
TAMPA, FL - The Bruins are first in the Atlantic Division, with an eight point lead on Montreal, and just three points back of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the top of the Eastern Conference.
Coming off three straight wins and a dominant 3-0 shutout performance against the Capitals, Head Coach Claude Julien is going to be sticking with what works as his squad begins their road trip against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.
"I think right now and tonight [in Tampa], we're going with the same lineup we had the other night because of how well we played," Julien said pregame in Tampa. "So you don't change a lineup just for the sake of changing it."
"At one point, we have to see those guys play. You know, we have to see what we have and how they fit in and everything else and give them a chance to fit in with the rest of the team," said Julien, of the two new additions.
BOSTON, MA - The Bruins' keys for Thursday night against the Capitals at TD Garden were simple.
Stay disciplined. Be responsible without the puck. Attack their net.
For the first time since February 24, 2012, the Bruins didn't have a penalty called against them. As a result, they dominantly carried five-on-five play for 60 minutes, until the final buzzer sounded on a 3-0 shutout of the Caps.
They only allowed 16 shots on goal, and just four in each in the first and second periods, producing one of their best defensive efforts in a while and giving Tuukka Rask his league-leading sixth shutout this season.
"It was the best [defensive effort] in a long time," Rask said postgame. "Not too many scoring chances, so we had layers all over the ice, and defended the middle really good, and backchecked hard, and had all the elements we want. So it was great to see that."
It's no secret whatsoever that the Black & Gold are a defense first team, and that their system is entirely trust-based, with support in all three zones.
"Especially today, I thought we were handling the puck really well. We dumped the puck in good in the corners and we got it back, we got everyone involved and we just have to keep doing that," said Eriksson, who scored his first goal since coming back from the Olympics. "And if we’re going to play like that, we’ll win more games. So we just have to keep doing it."
BOSTON, MA - As the Bruins begin their final regular season push before the playoffs, they will not have defenseman Adam McQuaid in the lineup.
On Wednesday, during the Bruins' post trade deadline press conference, General Manager Peter Chiarelli said that McQuaid was going to be "shut down" for two to three weeks.
The blueliner has been faced with a frustrating season, missing a combined 30 games to injury heading into the Bruins' game against the Washington Capitals on March 6.
His latest injury, a quad strain, has kept him out of the lineup since January 19. He was back skating and very close to a return after the Olympic Break before re-aggravating it.
"We had something similar with Jared Knight (hamstring) last year and you just have to basically shut that player down for a couple weeks and rest, and he came around," said Chiarelli. "But I don’t know. That’s what I expect would happen."
"[Adam's] injury, while it keeps healing, he has setbacks, so we’re just going to give him rest, two to three weeks, and see where he is after that."