Ninety percent of the time I am joking on Twitter when I refer to the black and gold. I say it at least three times every game, “the Bruins are back,” but, in reality, it’s truly hard to believe that fans could be in a position to say that and, for the most part, not sound crazy at this stage in the season. But it begs the legitimate question: are the Bruins really back? Not back as in “2011 Stanley Cup Champion and dominant Eastern Conference presence” kind of back, but is this Boston Bruins team looking like a playoff team for the first time in three seasons? Yes. You have to recognize what this organization has done over the past couple of weeks to bring this Bruins team back to a somewhat legitimate standing from where they were only a couple of weeks ago.

We are now eight games into the new era, if you so choose to call it, of interim head coach Bruce Cassidy. In his eight-game sample, Cassidy has coached the Bruins to a 7-1 overall record, with the single blemish coming on the road against the Anaheim Ducks as part of the team’s west coast trip off of a bye week. Amazingly, the roster hasn’t changed much since Julien left and eventually put on the Montreal Canadiens red and white Bruins fans love to hate. Once Julien’s system left, this team started to open the floodgates in the scoring column. They weren’t just beating teams, they were blowing them out. A 6-3 win against the Western Conference defending champion San Jose Sharks and even a 4-0 shutout against the Canadiens at home with Tuukka Rask in net. Any other Bruins team loses that game by three at the least, but not Cassidy’s team. Even most recently, the Bruins blew out the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 on the road and the Dallas Stars 6-3.

Puck movement is incredible right now, all phases of the game are clicking and we are seeing a completely different team than what we saw with Claude Julien at the helm. With all due respect to Claude, who was a great coach, the change had to happen. Cassidy’s Bruins scored six goals twice in eight games. Other than one game on Jan. 14 against the Philadelphia Flyers, Julien hadn’t touched six goals all season.

Most recently, the Bruins added to their offensive arsenal over the trade deadline day on Wednesday. Former Winnipeg Jets forward, Drew Stafford, was traded to the Bruins right at the deadline for a conditional Bruins’ sixth round pick. Stafford has 13 points through 40 games this season and will add some bottom-line offensive presence to a team that could use it down the road during the playoff push.

I completely understand that it has only been eight games and there’s still plenty of time for Boston to choke yet again and breaks the hearts of Beantown, but hear me when I say that there’s something that just looks and feels different about Cassidy’s squad. Sitting at third in the Atlantic, the Bruins look like a strong candidate for grabbing a divisional, or at the very least, a wild card playoff spot. Realistically, I know a collapse can happen at any second, but for now just enjoy this ride. The Bruins are back, folks.