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Boston Bruins clinch spot in NHL playoffs for eighth straight season

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins didn't play Thursday night, but the team officially clinched its spot in the NHL playoffs. 

The Bruins could have clinched Wednesday had they earned a single point against the Tampa Bay Lightning. But they lost 3-1 in regulation, so the clinching celebration had to wait another night.

The idle Bruins clinched Thursday thanks to a Philadelphia Flyers loss to the Montreal Canadiens. Boston is now the second team to clinch a playoff berth, following the Metropolitan-leading New York Rangers.

The Bruins currently sit atop the Atlantic Division with 99 points, two points ahead of the Florida Panthers. They are currently 1-2 on their six-game road trip, which continues Saturday night against the Capitals in Washington.

Boston has eight games left in the regular season, with the puck set to drop on the playoffs on April 20.

This marks the eighth straight year that the Bruins have earned a spot in the playoffs, the longest streak for any team in the NHL. Jim Montgomery has now led the Bruins to the playoffs in both of his seasons on the Boston bench.

Boston was the top seed last season after a record-setting, 135-point regular season. But that historic run ended in total disappointment as Boston failed to win a playoff series, falling to the Panthers in seven games in the first round.

The Bruins are, obviously, hoping for a much better outcome this postseason. If the playoffs started today Boston would square off with the Lightning -- whom they went 1-1-2 against in the regular season -- in the first round.

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