The Boston Bruins clinched their eighth straight playoff berth this past Thursday night. Their 3-2 Shootout win in Washington on Saturday clinched their sixth consecutive 100-point campaign in an entire season. Given how much they lost over the offseason, these accomplishments should be celebrated by the club and fans alike. Considering how the Bruins have been playing as of late, and especially how last season ended, as far as anyone is concerned, the B’s need to put up or shut up.

Coming out of the All-Star Break, the Bruins were 31-9-9 and in complete control of the Atlantic Division. Since then, they’ve posted a 13-7-6 record with several blown third-period and multi-goal leads.

Washington was the fourth game in six leg road trip, starting with the 3-2 loss in Philly that drew Jim Montgomery’s ire. The Bruins responded to Montgomery’s criticism with a gutsy, hard-fought win in Florida. They then followed that performance by being run off the ice by Tampa Bay.

In March, Boston gave up five goals on four different occasions, losing three of them. Two of those losses came from teams currently outside the playoff picture. The one win came against Philly, after conceding three third periods goals.

Despite their record, it’s hard to put faith in this Bruins team right now.

The last seven regular season games will be a litmus test for whether these Bruins are real Cup contenders. Boston will face off against white-hot Nashville, Carolina twice, and rematch with Florida and Washington. Their performance over this stretch will not only boost or kill their momentum heading into the playoffs but also determine who they may face.

As it stands, the New York Rangers hold the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference and would play Philly as the second Wild Card. In turn, Boston would get Tampa in the first round. The Lightning won the season series with the Bruins, winning three of the four matchups.

Should the Bruins drop to the #2 spot in the Atlantic, they would face Toronto in a far more favorable matchup. However, Toronto is only four points clear of Tampa, and both have nine games left to play.

For Boston, the playoffs need to start now. It’s time to put up or shut up.

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