When you are already the defending Stanley Cup champions, it takes a whole lot more than a division title to really get the party started.
Tim Thomas survived a third-period barrage from the New York Rangers, and Boston held on for a 2-1 victory on Sunday night that clinched the Northeast Division for the Bruins.
It also kept the Rangers from wrapping up the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, and gave Boston a long-awaited win over New York - a potential postseason opponent in the coming weeks. The Bruins had dropped all three previous meetings to the Rangers this season, five straight dating to last season, and nine of 11.
''It was an important win for a number of reasons,'' said Thomas, who made 19 saves in the scoreless third period and 33 overall. ''One of those was to show them we're not a pushover team just in case we get matched up in the playoffs.''
The Bruins donned division champion hats in their low-key dressing room. With the wi...