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Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo joins WEEI.com’s Josh Dolan for Facebook Live chat 04.05.17 at 1:03 pm ET
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Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo joined WEEI.com’s Josh Dolan following the club’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena on Wednesday for another Facebook Live Q&A.

The two talked about the Bruins making the playoffs for the first time since 2014, growing a playoff beard, and answered questions from the fans.

Follow WEEI on Facebook for more Bruins news, updates, and videos.

Bruins winger Brad Marchand takes blame for spear: ‘It was an undisciplined penalty’ 04.05.17 at 12:01 am ET
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Bruins winger Brad Marchand took responsibility for his spear. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Bruins winger Brad Marchand took responsibility for his ‘undisciplined’ spear against Lightning d-man Jake Dotchin. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Bruins winger Brad Marchand went through every phase a penalty taken has to offer when he speared Lightning defenseman Jake Dotchin between the legs on Tuesday night. At first he didn’t believe it and barked at the referee and Dotchin as he fell down to the ice in pain. Then he went to the box, asking for an explanation. And then he had that moment of self-realization where he seemed to sink a bit and accept that he just did something very wrong before he made his way out of the box and down the tunnel for the rest of the night.

It was the wrong penalty at the wrong time for Marchand, and the Bruins were by all means lucky to escape the five-minute major without any damage against (the Tampa Bay power play entered play ranked as the fourth-best in the league) in what was then a scoreless game.

It was a throwback to the Marchand that the Black and Gold were seemingly happy to see moved to the background in favor of this current embodiment of the 5-foot-9 sniper, who came into action leading the team in both goals (39, the second-most in the NHL) and points (85, the third-most in the league). And it was the selfish nonsense that the Bruins, who won this game by a 4-0 final without their top player at their disposal for the second and third period of action, did not need in a game that meant so much to this club’s playoff hopes.

Marchand acknowledged that after the game.

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Patrice Bergeron puts forth an actually perfect night in win over Lightning 04.04.17 at 11:22 pm ET
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Patrice Bergeron went 17-for-17 on faceoffs tonight. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Bruins center Patrice Bergeron went a perfect 17-for-17 on faceoffs tonight. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Playing against Bruins center Patrice Bergeron is widely considered one of the most difficult tasks that life in the National Hockey League has to offer. But it proved to be damn near impossible for the visiting Lightning at TD Garden in Tuesday’s 4-0 Bruins win over the Bolts.

In an efficient 23 shifts and 19:06 of time on ice (and down go-to linemate Brad Marchand for the final two periods of the game), Bergeron paced the Bruins with a team-leading six shots on goal, and was credited with a single takeaway in the effort. But it was Bergeron’s work at the faceoff dot, where he’s excelled and built a resume that includes three Selke Trophy wins as the league’s top defensive forward (one shy of tying Bob Gainey for the most in the NHL history), that proved to make a gigantic difference for the Bruins in this contest.

In 17 battles at the dot, Bergeron refused to lose, and finished a perfect 17-for-17 — including eight wins in the defensive zone — for the first truly perfect faceoff night of his NHL career.

In doing so, Bergeron became just the fourth Bruins center to take at least 10 faceoffs in a game and finish the night with a 100 percent success rate. David Krejci accomplished the feat in Apr. 2008 against the Sabres with, and Chris Kelly followed that up with a 100 percent night of his own (also against the Sabres) four years later. Joonas Kemppainen (remember him?) also did it last season in a December head-to-head with the Canucks. All three of those players went 10-for-10 in those games.

But, again, Bergeron won a staggering 17 drops and didn’t lose a single one. It’s actually the most faceoffs won in a single game without losing one since the Sabres’ Curtis Brown went 19-for-19 in an Oct. 2001 game against the Thrashers.

The 31-year-old Bergeron leads the NHL in faceoff wins (1,068) and faceoff percentage (59.8%) this season.

Bruins beat Lightning, clinch 1st playoff berth since 2014 04.04.17 at 9:35 pm ET
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David Pastrnak scored his 33rd goal of the season and the B's beat the Lightning to qualify for the playoffs. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

David Pastrnak scored his 33rd and 34th goals of the season and the B’s beat the Lightning to qualify for the playoffs. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

The long, local nightmare of choking to death yet again is finally over: The Bruins are officially going back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Back in Boston and in a simple win and you’re in situation against the Lightning, the team directly behind the Bruins by four points entering tonight’s game, the Bruins did just that, with two second period goals and some strong netminding from Tuukka Rask in a 4-0 final.

In a game that had a playoff atmosphere from the drop of the puck, the Bruins jumped out to a 9-to-4 shot advantage in the first period, with their best looks coming on a brilliant sequence from the David Krejci line with Drew Stafford and David Pastrnak, and would have scored on a Krejci one-timer had it not been for a brilliant save from Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy and with the help of a Luke Witkowski block.

But the first period domination didn’t come with a goal, and actually ended with the Bruins’ best player, Brad Marchand, banished to the room for the rest of the night after a selfish spearing major against Lightning defender Jake Dotchin.

The Bruins were not derailed by Nikita Kucherov and the Lightning power play like they were in their last head-to-head back on Mar. 23, however, as the Bruins held the Bolts to just two shots on their five-minute power play. In fact, the best offensive chance of that entire sequence likely came when B’s forward Dominic Moore went end to end for a chance on Vasilevskiy.

The team immediately built on the kill, too, as Drew Stafford scored just 1:36 after the kill with a beautiful backhand finish. Scored with the B’s holding an 18-to-6 shot advantage over the Lightning, the Bruins buckled in against the Bolts’ last gasp.

With a one-goal edge, the Bruins leaned on Rask in a 37-shot period (the B’s had 20 and the Lightning had 17), and the 30-year-old Rask stepped up with massive stops against the Bolts’ top line 10:32 into the period (Ondrej Palat helped Rask when he hit the side of the net on a net-front chance) and two big stops on Witkowski and Joel Vermin with 5:02 left in the period.

And with the Lightning on their back, the Bruins found insurance at four-on-four when Riley Nash fed a puck through Anton Stralman’s legs and to Pastrnak for No. 88’s 33rd goal of the season and a 2-0 Boston edge through 40 minutes of play.

It was in the third period that the Bruins found the killshot behind Zdeno Chara’s vaporizing slapshot for a 3-0 lead with 10:48 left in the game, and it was unofficially official with the way they were playing, capped off by a 28-save shutout from Rask — the Black and Gold were playoff bound.

In a season that at one point saw the B’s playoff hopes dip down to 25 percent, and came with the firing of head coach Claude Julien, a fixture of B’s hockey since 2007, the fact that the Bruins battled back to this spot is a just close to what has been a straight-up awakening under Bruce Cassidy, whose team is now 18-7-0 since he took over back in early February.

The win also kept the Bruins in contention for the No. 2 spot in the Atlantic Division bracket (a spot that can vary depending on the finishes around the league tonight), which would give them home-ice advantage against either the Maple Leafs, Senators or perhaps the Lightning in the first round. In total, the B’s have three options come round one: They could be the No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the Atlantic, or skate against the Metropolitan Division winner as the East’s second wild card.

Their fate and seeding is yet to be determined, and that’s something the B’s will worry about by the weekend.

But most importantly, and after back-to-back gag-jobs in Game 82, the Bruins are back in.

Bruins winger Brad Marchand ejected for spearing Lightning’s Jake Dotchin 04.04.17 at 8:37 pm ET
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Bruins winger Brad Marchand just can’t get out of his own way when it comes to cheap and unnecessary nonsense.

Late in the first period of the team’s biggest game of the season (the Bruins win this game in regulation and they clinch a spot in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs), Marchand engaged with Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jake Dotchin in a spirited effort in front of the Lightning net before he swung back and viciously speared Dotchin in the privates.

Assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for spearing, the B’s lost their leading scorer after just 19:20 of game time, and 5:17 of ice time for the 28-year-old Marchand. In spite of Marchand’s antics, the Bruins would survive the five-minute penalty and hold the Bolts to just two shots on B’s netminder Tuukka Rask on the five-minute kill.

But now the question becomes as to whether or not Marchand will face supplemental discipline from the league for the spear.

Marchand has already avoided a suspension on two separate occasions this year, once for a slewfoot on Detroit d-man Niklas Kronwall, and then later for a similar trip against Tampa’s Anton Stralman. It was after the Kronwall incident that Marchand admitted that he needs to use better judgement to avoid future meetings with the league’s Department of Player Safety.

“The last thing I want to be doing is continuing to go back in front of those guys,” said Marchand. “I’m sure they’re sick of seeing me. So instances like last game, they can be avoided. Just smarter decisions. Something I’ll continue to work on.”

Marchand has been suspended four times since the start of the 2010-11 season, and the Bruins have just two more regular season games after this, so it’s possible that any suspension handed down to Marchand could bleed into the postseason if the B’s make it.

Bruins look to clinch playoff spot tonight against Lightning 04.04.17 at 6:41 pm ET
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The Bruins can punch their ticket to the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoff tonight. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins can punch their ticket to the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoff tonight. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Win in regulation and you’re in.

It’s as simple as that for the Bruins against the Lightning tonight at TD Garden. But as back-to-back collapses out of postseason qualification in the final week of the season have shown us, calling it that ‘simple’ is not a good idea. So maybe this is a topic that’s better tiptoed around with the subtle acknowledgement of what’s at stake tonight.

“This was our goal when the year started, right: to get in?” Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy said after the morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena. “Guys know what’s at stake, and it’s about playing the right way and not getting too far ahead of ourselves.”

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Reading entirely too much into Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and the Bruins 04.04.17 at 3:02 am ET
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Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson has signed with the Bruins. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson has signed with the Bruins. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Prized Bruins prospect Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson has signed his entry-level deal and is reporting right to Boston. Well really from his place at Boston University and down about five T stops to TD Garden, but nevertheless, he’s turned pro and is with the Bruins.

Pending immigration approval, he’s also expected be on the ice at Warrior Ice Arena early Tuesday when the Bruins gear up for their head-to-head with the visiting Lightning. A regulation win and the Bruins punch their ticket to the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

And for a team that’s missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, that’s exciting on its own, of course. But let’s go back to Forsbacka Karlsson for just a moment, if you don’t mind.

The fact that Forsbacka Karlsson is here — and not in Providence like BU teammate and fellow highly-touted B’s prospect Charlie McAvoy (for now, of course) — should be far from a surprise, even if his name is not the sexiest one of the lot of players fans expected to make the jump from college right to the pros.

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