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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Bruins are Atlantic Division Champs, Now Where's My Shirt and Hat?

You keep waiting for the Bruins to take a game off, it would be understandable, but they seem to do the opposite as they focus on every opponent and usually hand them a one-sided loss. This afternoon, they were at the Verizon Center in DC and they rolled 4-2 over the Capitals. Boston (51-17-6) took the season series 2-1 with Washington (34-28-12) and in the process, the Black and Gold clinched the Atlantic Division title. Up nine points on Pittsburgh with eight games left, the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference is almost certain at this juncture.

The biggest pleasant surprises for the Bruins this season had their fingerprints all over this victory: Jarome Iginla scored two more goals, Carl Soderberg had three points (1 goal, 2 assists) and Chad Johnson (31 saves) improved to 17-3-1. These teams could meet in the first round of the playoffs for the second time in the last three years so that's why it was important that the Bruins dominated the Capitals on their home ice (in a game that should have meant way more to the hosts).

Iginla opened the scoring at 2:48 in the second period. David Krejci started the play by chipping the puck to Soderberg who flipped it to Iginla for a breakaway. You better believe he knew what to do for his 29th goal of the season. Less than five minutes later, Soderberg doubled Boston's lead with a power play goal. He re-directed Patrice Bergeron's shot. Loui Eriksson had the second assist on Soderberg's 15th goal of the season.

The B's put it away 41 seconds later as Iginla placed a backhander past Braden Holtby. Milan Lucic and Krejci had the assists. You are not coming back versus Boston down two goals and all hope completely goes out the window when they lead by three goals or more.

The Caps showed a little pride as Jason Chimera knocked in a rebound with 10 seconds left in the second period. Unfortunately for them, Bergeron had the next goal. His power play strike at 13:17 of the third period was his 26th of the season. Soderberg and Dougie Hamilton had the assists.

Washington's Evgeny Kuznetsov scored the most garbage of garbage goals, cutting it to 4-2 with 55 seconds left in regulation. Johnson had been caught too far outside the crease but who cares?

This was the start of a four-game road trip for the B's; Boston goes for another matinee win against a Metropolitan Division team tomorrow afternoon (12:30, NBC) as they visit the Flyers (39-27-7). Philadelphia has been playing well lately but they'll have to face a rested Tuukka Rask and a squad that has dominated them in recent years.

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