Julien jokes about avoiding pink slip on journey to tying Bruins’ win record

Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien knows he almost didn't make it this far.

With a win over Chicago on Thursday, Julien tied Art Ross for the most regular-season wins as Bruins head coach with 387.

But despite winning a Stanley Cup in 2011, his job was believed to have been in jeopardy as recently as this past summer when general manager Don Sweeney took over from predecessor Peter Chiarelli.

And it wasn't the first time.

"The fact that I've avoided being fired for the last nine years here has helped me get that many wins," he said, according to Chris Mason of the Boston Herald.

One win away from setting the club record, Julien knows he's in rare air.

Julien has posted a record of 387-215-85 as head coach of the Bruins, with an additional 57 playoff wins to his credit.

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Babcock rips officiating after another loss: ‘I thought we got ripped off big time’

Mike Babcock believes in the rebuild, but he hates losing. And the Toronto Maple Leafs are losing often.

The Minnesota Wild left Toronto with a 2-1 victory Thursday, and Babcock was infuriated with the officiating. The Wild had four power-play opportunities to Toronto's none, and both Minnesota goals were scored with the man advantage.

"I don't get it," Babcock said after the game, when asked about the disparity in power plays. "Makes no sense to me.

"I was disappointed. I thought we got ripped off big time. People didn't pay to watch (the referees) play. They pay to watch the players."

Babcock was especially upset about an interference penalty to Leo Komarov that resulted in the Wild's game-winning, power-play goal:

Toronto's lost four straight, eight of nine, and 11 of 13. This was the pain Babcock was talking about. He clearly doesn't need the officiating adding to it.

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Lightning win 8th straight, feasting on soft part of schedule

The Tampa Bay Lightning continue to rack up wins.

The club won its eighth straight Thursday, with the Ottawa Senators the latest victim. The eight wins in a row tie a franchise record, set around this time of year in 2004.

Tampa Bay's run has come against teams it should be beating.

Opponent Score
Jets 6-5 (SO)
Penguins 4-2
Hurricanes 4-2
Coyotes 2-1
Devils 4-0
Bruins 4-1
Maple Leafs 2-1
Senators 4-1

Only two of those teams are in playoff position heading into Thursday night: the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins.

After a slow start to the season, the Lightning, last year's Stanley Cup finalists, have found their stride. There's a chance they end the night with the Eastern Conference's second-best goal differential (plus-27).

Tampa Bay has a good chance to make franchise history Saturday, when it hosts the Carolina Hurricanes. In fact, the run could go well into double digits. Here are the Lightning's next six opponents:

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Fleury calls Lundqvist’s net-launching antics ‘baby stuff’

The Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers renewed their rivalry Thursday, and if the two clubs meet in the playoffs, prepare to be entertained.

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was incensed after his captain Ryan McDonagh collided with him in the first period, as the all-world goaltender believed the defender was pushed into him. Lundqvist was so mad he tossed the net off its moorings on a Penguins rush.

After the game, a 4-1 Penguins win, Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was asked if he'd ever go full Lundqvist.

"No, that's baby stuff," Fleury said.

Shots fired, as the kids say.

Lundqvist's night only got worse. He eventually left the contest with neck spasms, and McDonagh said post-game he wasn't pushed into Lundqvist, according to The Record's Andrew Gross. Incidental contact. And certainly now what Lundqvist wants to hear.

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Vigneault: Fiery Lundqvist exited loss to Penguins to treat neck spasms

An eventful, emotional night for Henrik Lundqvist ended on the treatment table.

New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said after Thursday's 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins that his star goalie did not come out for the third period because he was experiencing neck spasms from a collision with defender Ryan McDonagh.

"I don't think it's anything serious," Vigneault said.

Lundqvist, who threw his net off its pegs in frustration soon after the collision and in protest with the officials, chose not to address the media.

Related: Fleury calls Lundqvist's net-launching antics 'baby stuff'

McDonagh, however, did, telling reporters it was incidental contact, and he was not helped into Lundqvist.

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