Bruins

Holden 'very excited to get started' with Bruins

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Holden 'very excited to get started' with Bruins

TORONTO -- Nick Holden suited up wearing No. 44 at his first official Bruins practice on Friday morning at the Ricoh Coliseum, home of the Toronto Marlies, but it remains to be seen exactly how things are going to shake out with the 30-year-old defenseman.

Holden mixed into the bottom pairing with a crowded back end of Matt Grzelcyk, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller and Paul Postma, and it sounded like he might not be breaking into the B’s lineup immediately. Bruce Cassidy might go with the same defensemen group that’s won two straight in Calgary and Edmonton, and then simply revisit with each passing game as the Bruins play a whopping 24 games in the final 44 days of the regular season.

“He’s big, he’s long,” said Cassidy. “I watched some of his shifts against us and Philadelphia . . . [he's] a good defender and [has] a good first pass. I think he’s going to help us.

"I know the next question is ‘when?’ We’re going to talk about that today. I don’t know when he’ll go into our lineup, to be honest with you. I don’t know if it will be tomorrow or Sunday (in Buffalo), with the reason being that we’ve liked the seven guys that we’ve used over the last two months.

“We can’t forget about that, or not have the loyalty to the guys that have got us here. We talked about it with him directly. We’ve played the guy that deserves to play this year, and once he’s in it’s his job to stay in. That’s about it.”

As it stands this weekend, the Bruins have nine healthy D-men on their roster and Holden is excited to get a chance to suit up in Black and Gold with his new team.

“I kind of knew I was getting traded, and when I found it was the Boston Bruins I was really excited,” said Holden. “Obviously they’re having a great year and it’s a really good team, so I’m very excited to get started. It worked out good that I was able to get in two days ago and go out with the team to dinner [in Toronto] and kind of meet everybody right away. It’s been great.”

Holden admitted it will be a change for him going more zone defense than man-to-man as it’s been in the past with the Rangers and the Avalanche, but those things tend to work themselves out in short order.

Otherwise it was a full group for the Black and Gold on Friday morning with Kevan Miller (upper body) fully healthy, and Tuukka Rask named as the starting goalie for Saturday night’s big game vs. the Maple Leafs.

Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings vs. the Maple Leafs based on Friday’s practice session:

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak
DeBrusk-Krejci-Spooner
Heinen-Nash-Backes
Schaller-Kuraly-Acciari

Chara-McAvoy
Krug-Carlo
Grzelcyk-McQuaid
Holden-Miller
Postma

Rask
Khudobin

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Zdeno Chara pays tribute to father in emotional Instagram post after Bruins' win

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USA TODAY Sports

Zdeno Chara pays tribute to father in emotional Instagram post after Bruins' win

Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara knows a lot of people have helped him become a future Hall of Fame player in the NHL.

His father is right at, or near the top of the list.

After Chara made history by scoring the 200th goal of his career in Boston's 7-3 win over the Florida Panthers on Saturday night, the B's defenseman took to Instagram to pay tribute to his dad and thank him for all the help he's provided. Check out the photo below: 

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Past few days has been overwhelming. First my birthday,then contract extension and last night clinching the play offs. As soon as I got to my locker I saw a text from my Father. My dad is an old school tough guy. He raised me with tough love and literally beat my ass at home and kick it in the gym.He showed me what hard work is and what it takes to get where you want to be. Never took it easy on me. I hated it then,but I am grateful for it,because hard work and discipline its part of who I am. I called him on the plane. To hear my Dad expressed his happiness and love felt good. He was bugging me about 200 for a while,so when I scored last it felt good cause that goal was for him. This is for you Dad. Love you. PS: Thanks for all the kicks in my ass ! LoL 😂 #dad #toughlove #200

A post shared by Zdeno Chara (@zeechara33) on

Chara also signed a one-year contract extension Saturday to remain with the Bruins through the end of next season. The 42-year-old veteran remains one of the better defensemen in the league, and his value to the B's during even strength, the power play and penalty kill is immense. His leadership on and off the ice sets a great example for the entire team as well.

The Bruins clinched a playoff spot with Saturday's win. It will be their ninth playoff appearance in the 12 seasons since Chara came to Boston, and he's been the driving force of the team's success over that span.

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Recapping milestones Bruins hit with playoff-clinching win vs. Panthers

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USA TODAY Sports

Recapping milestones Bruins hit with playoff-clinching win vs. Panthers

The Boston Bruins secured a Stanley Cup playoff berth with Saturday night's 7-3 win over the Florida Panthers, and they set, tied or extended a few milestones as a result.

Here's a recap of the notable Bruins milestones from the playoff-clinching victory.

--The Bruins will soon make their 72nd appearance in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Only the Montreal Canadiens (83) have made more appearances.
--The Bruins will be the third team in NHL history to play in 100 best-of-7 playoff series.
--Boston improved its record to 46-20-9 for 101 points. It represents the Bruins' 23rd 100-point season in history, extending their own league record. The next closest teams are the Canadiens, Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers with 19 100-point seasons.
--The Bruins almost certainly will play the Toronto Maple Leafs or Montreal Canadiens in Round 1. If that happens, it will be the seventh time in their last 10 playoff appearances that the Bruins have faced a Canadian team in the first round. Boston is 4-2 in the previous six matchups. There's about a 98% chance the Bruins will play the Leafs in Round 1 for the second consecutive year.

The Bruins cannot catch the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place in the Atlantic Division, so their next goal is clinching home ice advantage in Round 1.

This is a very important objective for the B's given their success at TD Garden this season -- Boston owns a 28-7-3 home record. Home ice also proved to be a huge factor in the B's beating the Leafs in their 2013 and 2018 first-round playoff series, both of which ended with a Game 7 victory in Boston.

So, while the Bruins' first major objective of the regular season has been accomplished, there's still work to be done over the final seven games.

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