Tuesday night was a big night for the Boston Bruins.
Winning a 4-2 contest against the Toronto Maple Leafs, arguably their biggest rival in recent years and one of their biggest threats at the top of the Atlantic Division is only part of the story, though.
Practically speaking, this was the biggest news of the night given it’s actual importance to future seeding and the like. That said, there’s still room to celebrate milestones as they occur and for the Bruins, Tuesday night featured a plethora of milestones that are all worthy of a mention.
Rask Earns Victory in 500th Career Game
For starters, Tuesday marked Tuukka Rask’s 500th game in the NHL (and, of course, as a member of the Bruins).
Originally drafted by the Maple Leafs in 2005 before being traded to the Bruins and taking over as their franchise netminder later in his career, there was no more fitting opponent for Rask than the team that drafted him 14 years ago.
Even more fitting was the fact that Rask earned a victory in this game, a game that saw make 28 saves on 30 shots to backstop the Bruins to the win.
In his career, the 32-year-old netminder now holds a record of 269-150-59. That’s good for a win-percentage of nearly 54 percent throughout his career. It also means he’s earned at least one point in 328 games, good for over 65 percent of the games he’s played.
As mentioned, though, Rask’s big night was only the tip of the iceberg for the Bruins.
Bruins Set Franchise Record in Win Against Maple Leafs
Another notable milestone was earned by the Bruins organization itself. With the win against the Maple Leafs on Tuesday, the Bruins have now won 300 games against Toronto in the history of the franchise. This is the first team that the Bruins have won 300 games against, which again, is fitting given their heated rivalry in recent years.
It’s almost inconceivable at this point to imagine the Bruins and Maple Leafs not battling each other for seeding in the Atlantic Division this season and in the coming years given their current makeups.
This rivalry shouldn’t be going anywhere soon.
Back to individual milestones, however, it would be disappointing to not mention the Bruins’ captain in the celebration.
Old and Young Bruins Setting Milestones
Zdeno Chara competed in his 100th game against the Maple Leafs on Tuesday, the most games he’s played against a single team in his career with the Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens also in line to reach the same milestone later this season.
In 100 games against the Maple Leafs, Chara has scored a cool 15 goals and 46 points while averaging just shy of 25 minutes per game against his rival from the North.
At 42 years old, it isn’t surprising to see Chara hit such a personal milestone against a division rival, but it’s still something that deserves mentioning nonetheless.
The fun doesn’t stop there, though.
From one of the Bruins’ older players to one of their youngest and arguably equally important pieces on the roster, David Pastrnak recorded both his 300th and 301st points in the NHL (all with the Bruins) on Tuesday.
Scoring twice in Tuesday’s matchup (but having one goal called back) and recording an assist on Brad Marchand’s goal in the second period, Pastrnak continued his white-hot start to the 2019-20 campaign with his league-leading 10th goal and 17th point recorded in just nine games thus far.
At just 23 years old, Pastrnak is already one of the most talented players in the entire NHL and he has a chance to have one of the best statistical seasons any player has had in Boston in a very long time.
For now, though, celebrating Pastrnak’s milestone of over 300 points in his first 329 games is good enough.
Finally, the last notable milestone from Tuesday night came in the form of head coach Bruce Cassidy coaching his 200th game with the Bruins.
Cassidy Hitting Major Career-Mark Tuesday
In those 200 games, Cassidy has led the Bruins to a very impressive 123-53-24 record, good for 270 points in 200 games and three-consecutive postseason bids thus far, including a trip to the Stanley Cup Final last season.
Cassidy has been among the NHL’s best coaches since returning to the role after a brief and disappointing stint with the Washington Capitals back in 2003-03 and 2003-04. Older, wiser and more experienced, Cassidy has allowed his players to flourish under him in a way that’s greatly appreciated by the entire locker room.
In a night that featured so many milestones, the Bruins came to play in a way that was only fitting of the night as a whole.
This Bruins team is a legitimate Stanley Cup Contender and nothing else matters in comparison. That doesn’t mean we can’t take a step back once and a while and appreciate the finer details of this team that are worth celebrating when the time is right.
Right now, the time certainly feels right.