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Fresh Links: Clinched

The Bruins have punched their ticket to play for the Stanley Cup

NHL: Boston Bruins at Florida Panthers
Noel Acciari and MacKenzie Weegar in a different sort of clinch
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

With both teams now headed into the postseason, the league leading Lightning host the Bruins tonight in Tampa Bay at 7:30PM on NESN.

  • Preview tonight’s matchup, with two of the NHL’s top scorers (Brad Marchand and Nikita Kucherov) in the spotlight. (With video) Fox Sports
  • Yanni Gourde will miss this one- he will sit and feel shame after a bad hit on Jordan Staal on Thurdsay. Despite an otherwise clean disciplinary record, he still received a two-game suspension. Tampa Bay Times
  • The Bruins clinched a playoff berth on Saturday against the Panthers, and the new-look fourth line was a key. How long can they stay together with others returning to the lineup? HockeyBuzz
  • In yet another “next man up” scenario, Karson Kuhlman saw his chance and took it. Bruce Cassidy was impressed. Boston Herald
  • Bullet points from the win include Saturday having been a special night for Zdeno Chara. Bruins Daily
  • His teammates and coach weighed in, but Zdeno Chara saved special thanks for his own father. (With video) BarDown
  • Good news for the Bruins- Marcus Johansson skated with the team on Sunday, Bruce Cassidy will decide at game time if he will play tonight. Bonus- watch the competition to see which defensmen stick as several Bruins return to health. Boston Globe
  • The Maple Leafs are well aware that when Chuck Norris goes to sleep, he checks under his bed for the Patrice Bergeron/Brad Marchand/David Pastrnak line. What must the Leafs do to prevail over Boston? (Link to audio) WEEI
  • It was the best of times, it was the worst of times for the Providence Bruins this week. You know a call is questionable when even the opponent’s play-by-play announcer weighs in. Rinkside Rhode Island

NHL Standings:

  • In this summary of the Eastern Conference teams, the only real battle is for the Wild Card slots, while five teams have already been eliminated. NHL
  • Only the Kings are eliminated in the Western Conference standings so far. NHL

Elsewhere around the rink:

  • Sports fans in the city of Boston are poised for an historic event that will not be named lest it be jinxed. Boston.com
  • This assessment of the Vezina candidate leaders includes some dark horses- both Bruins netminders, a former Bruin Free Elf, and a former loaner to the PBruins that has been stellar in St. Louis for his REAL team. The Hockey News
  • At the NHL Department of Player Safety, George Parros notes a positive trend, and knocks wood that it continues. ESPN
  • Can teams realistically hope to schedule rest for players and manage workloads? Bonus- the looming Bruins v. Maple Leafs matchup in the playoffs helped sparked NHL and NHLPA talks regarding playoff formats. Sportsnet