BOSTON, MA - MARCH 03:  Dale Weise #25 of the Chicago Blackhawks defends John-Michael Liles #26 of the Boston Bruins during the second period at TD Garden on March 3, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Bruins hoping Liles can bolster blue line for playoff run

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In the last week, PHT has explored whether Christian Ehrhoff could be a “style fit” in Chicago and if Rob Scuderi “can still play” for the Kings.

So we’d be remiss not to write something about John-Michael Liles, and what he could possibly do for the Boston Bruins.

In case you missed it, the B’s picked up Liles from Carolina at the trade deadline, in return for prospect Anthony Camara, a third-round draft pick in 2016 and a fifth-round pick in 2017. A veteran defenseman with almost 800 NHL games of experience, Liles is 35 and in the final year of his contract.

In other words, this was not a move for the future. Liles was added, along with pending UFA forward Lee Stempniak, to help the B’s in the upcoming playoffs.

“I’ve seen him for a long time,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said of Liles, per The Fourth Period. “He’s been in the league for quite a few years so nothing has really surprised me from him. We’re looking for that puck-moving part from our back end, having a good balance of guys that can defend well and having guys that can move the puck well and he’s brought that element to our hockey team.”

Last night, Liles logged 22:37 of ice time in Boston’s 5-4 OT defeat of the Panthers. Only Zdeno Chara (25:18) and Torey Krug (23:04) played more for the B’s.

Liles also registered an assist on Stempniak’s winner in three-on-three.

Now, granted, GM Don Sweeney could live to regret his actions at the trade deadline, which included not trading pending UFA winger Loui Eriksson.

But for the Bruins to make a playoff run, Sweeney obviously felt his much-maligned blue line needed an upgrade.

“He’s not what I call a prototypical shutdown defenseman, but if you spend less time in your own end you don’t have to defend,” said Sweeney, per the Bruins’ website. “I think we will have the ability to have a guy with experience that can move the puck and complement, again, some of the hard and heavy guys that we have and go in and play an important role going forward.”

For Boston, the future of the defense remains very much in doubt. Chara is 38; Dennis Seidenberg is 34; and even Jack Edwards can admit “there’s no alpha dog on the way.”

You know the saying, though.

“Once you’re in the playoffs,” said Liles, “anything can happen, and that’s what it’s about.”

It wasn’t pretty, but Julien sets Bruins coaching wins record at 388

Boston Bruins center Noel Acciari, middle, gets set to put his helmet on, flanked by teammate Jimmy Hayes (11) and Brett Connolly (14) while Bruins head coach Claude Julien looks on prior to an NHL hockey game against the Calgary Flames, Tuesday, March 1, 2016, in Boston. It is Acciari's first game as a Bruin. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
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If most of Claude Julien’s wins were like these … well, he probably wouldn’t have more wins than any other Boston Bruins coach.

Still, Monday’s bumpy 5-4 overtime victory against the Florida Panthers does count, giving Julien a Bruins-record 388 victories.

You know you’ve done something special when you pass a person who had a trophy named after him, as the Bruins noted with Julien:

BOSTON BRUINS TOP FIVE ALL-TIME COACHING WINS LEADERS
1. Claude Julien, 388
2. Art Ross, 387
3. Milt Schmidt, 245
4. Don Cherry, 231
5. Gerry Cheevers, 204

The game itself was one that might have left Julien screaming a little paint off of locker room walls.

The Bruins built 3-0 and 4-1 leads in the first period, yet the Panthers came screaming back – maybe with motivation from Shawn Thornton‘s fight, maybe not – and forced the game into overtime.

That was the part that probably left Julien frowning. The smiling part: Lee Stempniak made an impact for his new team, scoring the Bruins’ overtime-winner.

The Panthers remain ahead of the Bruins for second place in the Atlantic, but this could be quite the race to watch.

Maybe Julien will make a little more history in the process?

Related: Speaking of history, Jaromir Jagr passed Gordie Howe for third all-time in points during this game.

Fight video: Adam McQuaid vs. former Bruins teammate Shawn Thornton

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Proponents of fighting – and also quite a few people who aren’t moved either way – believe that, every once and a while, a rousing bout can turn the momentum of a game.

There’s also the possibility that those moments can be coincidental, but what fun is that?

Whatever importance you attach to this fight, it has added meaning as Shawn Thornton dropped the gloves with former Boston Bruins teammate Adam McQuaid.

You can watch the video above.

And, again, some feel as though the Florida Panthers received energy in particular from that tilt.

And now for some comic relief:

Video: Ovechkin given boarding major for hit from behind on Bruins’ Miller

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Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin was given a major penalty for boarding after he hit Boston Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller from behind during the second period Saturday.

The incident occurred as Miller came off the blue line and pinched down along the boards to keep the puck in the Washington zone.

Ovechkin didn’t receive a game misconduct, while Miller left the game and hasn’t returned.

According to Rule 41.5 (Boarding – Game Misconduct Penalty) of the NHL rulebook, “When a major penalty is imposed under this rule for a foul resulting in an injury to the face or head of an opponent, a game misconduct shall be imposed.”

Bruins stay busy, acquire Devils’ leading scorer Stempniak

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Just when it looked like Boston was going to stand pat at the trade deadline, GM Don Sweeney flipped the script.

Shortly after getting veteran d-man John-Michael Liles out of Carolina, Sweeney acquired New Jersey’s leading point-getter, Lee Stempiak, per TSN.

Update: Per Sportsnet, 2nd- and 4th-round picks are going back to New Jersey.

Stempniak, 33, is enjoying a terrific campaign with the Devils and has emerged as one of the league’s best bargains. After going to New Jersey’s training camp on a PTO, the veteran winger scored a one-year, $850,000 deal and has since gone on to rack up 16 goals and 41 points in 63 games played.

That Boston was interested in Stempniak is no surprise. Prior to landing with the Devils, there were rumblings he would instead attend Bruins camp on a professional tryout.

As for the Bruins, today’s moves give a pretty clear indication of where Sweeney thinks the team is at, at least in terms of being a playoff contender. He didn’t move pending UFA forward Loui Eriksson, as many expected, and instead acquired two veteran rentals to help with postseason play.

Stempniak has been to the playoffs in each of the last two seasons — in ’13-14 with Pittsburgh, and ’14-15 with Winnipeg.