The Boston Bruins hosted the Buffalo Sabres in their regular season home finale at TD Garden on "Fan Appreciation Day" Saturday afternoon. The B's went on to win the game 4-1 behind two goals from David Krejci (18th and 19th of the year) as well as winning the Presidents' Trophy.
The B's came out firing, scoring two first period goals off the sticks of Gregory Campbell (eighth of year) and Krejci and never looked back. It was a great display for the fans in the last regular season home game of the year.
Tuukka Rask turned aside 24 of 25 shots earning his 36th win of the season. Here are a few superlatives from the Bruins 54th win of the year in their home finale:
1. Most likely to win two awards during the Bruins 2014 season awards ceremony- Tuukka Rask and David Krejci
Tuukka Rask took home the John P. Bucyk Award as well as the team's First Star award Saturday afternoon in front of a sold out TD Garden. The John P. Bucyk Award symbolizes an active participant in the Bruins off-ice charitable events throughout the course of the 2013-2014 campaign. Whether Rask was visiting hospitals, making wishes come true for youngsters as we saw on NESN's "Behind the B", donating to the Bruins annual "Cuts for a Cause" or making a difference in the Greater Boston area, it was a very well-deserved honor.
His First Star award was due to his stellar play at home compiling a 21-7-3 record at home with a 1.69 goals against average and a .941 save percentage. Home or away, Rask has been sensational for the B's all year long creeping to the top of the list of Vezina Trophy candidate winners.
David Krejci took home the Elizabeth Dufesne Trophy signifying his outstanding performance during Bruins home games this season. In the 41 home games this season, Krejci tallied 15 goals and 27 assists while posting a plus-32 while at TD Garden.
Krejci also took home the B's Second Star award for his spectacular play in front of the home crowd. He ranked tied for second on the team in goals and led the team in assists and plus/minus rating while playing at TD Garden.
The first-line center alongside his line mates Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla made this line one of the most productive lines in the National Hockey League.
These two awards could have gone to a handful of players on the Presidents' Trophy award-winning team, but Krejci and Rask were the winners. It's safe to say they are worthy of the hardware.
2. Most likely never to score a goal in a Bruins sweater again- Jordan Caron
He was talked about a lot in recent years. He had a bright future ahead, but he just never got his feet wet as a Boston Bruin. In 34 games played this season, Caron has a concerning one goal and two assists while posting a minus-9. He is the only player on the B's with a minus-rating that has played in more than 30 games.
The 23-year-old has only 28 career points (12 goals 16 assists) in 121 total NHL games. That is not the production the Black and Gold were hoping for when they drafted him in the first round of the 2009 NHL entry draft. He has played himself out of a job in the 2013-2014 season.
He has seen time on the fourth line recently for the B's only because Claude Julien is picking and choosing when he will rest his star players. This is the time Caron can showcase his talents to the rest of the NHL because come playoff time, you will not see Caron near the B's bench unless something unforeseeable happens which we hope is not the case.
Caron should enjoy the playoff run from the press box because his days are numbered in Boston. There is just too much depth on this team as of now and coming up from Providence for him to hold onto a roster spot.
Let's just hope Daniel Paille is okay.
3. Team most likely to be the Chicago Blackhawks of 2012-13: The 2013-14 Boston Bruins
The Blackhawks earned 77 points last season during a lock-out plagued year, winning the Presidents' Trophy. As we know, they went on to beat the Bruins in six games in the Stanley Cup Finals that same year. On the other hand, the Vancouver Canucks have won the Presidents' Trophy multiple times, but have nothing to show for it come playoff time as they were swept one year while losing in the Stanley Cup the other year.
The B's are built to replicate what the Blackhawks did in 2013 more than what the Canucks did a few years ago as Presidents' Trophy owners. The depth of the Black and Gold is near the top of the league. Julien can roll out all four lines at any given time. Whether it is the line-producing first line, the Bergeron line, the play-making third line or the gritty fourth line, the B's are constructed for a long run in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, not to mention their goaltender.
From start to finish the B's were the team to beat in the Eastern Conference and now they are the team to beat in the NHL. The 12 game win streak was evidence that they will be tough to beat. It's hard to win two games in a row in such a competitive league and the B's won 12. It will be very difficult for the B's to lose in a seven game series as long as everybody is healthy.
The Black and Gold will embark on their 2014 playoff run Thursday night as they await their opponent and rest assuredly they want the Stanley Cup too. Not just the Presidents' Trophy.
"It's a nice accomplishment," Krug said. "Obviously it's not our main goal, but along the way you're going to pick up things like that. It's good, obviously the best record in the NHL speaks for itself. Now we're onto our main goal and we're going to have a lot of fun with it."
4. Mr. Perfect: Patrice Bergeron
What can't this man do? He scored his 30th goal of the season for the Black and Gold to join teammate Jarome Iginla as the only two B's players with 30 goals this season. It's his first 30 goal season with the B's since the 2005-2006 campaign.
Bergeron's play this season has been flawless. His consistency is like no other player around. The second-line center will almost certainly win his second Selke Award this season. He leads the NHL in face-off percentage won while he is in the top three in plus/minus. Not only does Bergeron get his name on the stat sheet, he has some intangibles that do not show up in most cases. His great vision, his work ethic and heart make him a player every organization wants. His defensive instincts are next to none and he is a 30-goal scorer. Bergeron even went on to say this season that he enjoys saving a goal more than scoring one-what's not to love about this guy?
Fans sometimes take Bergeron for granted because he is so consistent on the ice, but we are watching greatness in a B's sweater. He now has 30 goals and 32 assists on the season for a Presidents' Trophy winning team.
He is the straw that stirs the drink for the B's and he is willing to play through anything as we saw last year. That's a great combination. He won't win the Hart Trophy, but his name better at least be in that conversation.
5. Quote of the game
As the regular season comes to a close, the Bruins will finally find out who their opponent is in the opening round of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs, but with one game left Claude Julien doesn't know who his team will play nor does he care.
"Again, we've never been one to start picking and choosing here-that's never worked out most of the time for any team," Julien said prior to his last home game of 2014 versus the Sabres. "So we just have good information on all those teams that we have a possibility of playing. We've already started doing our homework on all possibilities, but when the time comes that it's official, then we'll dig even deeper and have our guys ready for it."
Right now, the Bruins have three different scenarios where they can host the Detroit Red Wings, Columbus Blue Jackets or the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Bruins will travel to New Jersey to play the Devils tomorrow in their regular season finale. Look for Tuukka Rask to have the day off as well as some other key players on the B's roster as the playoffs begin in less than a week.
After tomorrow's game against the Devils, blood pressures will be rising and lack of sleep will follow as the B's will begin their quest for another Stanley Cup and duck boat parade.