After a slower start than any other team in recent NHL history coming off a Stanley Cup win, the Boston Bruins are poised for a record-setting year. Since starting off a dismal 3-7-0, the Bruins have posted and astounding 22-2-1 record. During this stretch, the B’s went through the month of November without posting a regulation loss and are currently on a 7 game win streak while sitting atop the Eastern Conference.
A big credit to the hot streak has to be the phenomenal goaltending. Both Tuukka Rask and Tim Thomas are on pace to have personal records shattered. Thomas currently has a 1.81 GAA and a .943 S% while Rask has a 1.61 GAA and a .945 s%. Last year Thomas was the guy, he posted big numbers and played the majority of the games. Not so much this year as Rask continues to earn time between the posts for the Black & Gold.
“When there are not many shots, you have to find ways to stay sharp. It becomes a mental thing, but, in the end, good teams find ways to win,” said Rask after Thursday night’s win against the Phoenix Coyotes.
When Rask’s number has been called upon, he has stepped up and this versatility in net will be a vital advantage as the B’s approach the stretch run.
But the goalies can’t get all the credit for allowing just 64 goals against (Fewest in NHL). In fact the Bruins are on pace to surpass the record set by the 03-04 New jersey Devils for the fewest goals against in a season of 164. Defense has been spectacular. Team defense is stressed upon for the B’s and has become the team’s biggest obstacle. Players like Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand have stepped up each with a +25 giving the Bruin’s an edge in all three zones.
“We take pride in our defensive game without the puck,” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien ”Confidence grows with each game, and we believe 99 percent of the time, we will get great goaltending.”
The next commodity that sets the B’s apart is their depth ant ability to roll four lines. Depth has always been a strongpoint but this year the B’s have truly stepped up their game with nine players with 20 points or more (leads NHL). All four lines are producing and as a result the B’s currently have 121 goals for this season second only the western conference leading Chicago Blackhawks.
“We have great depth throughout the whole lineup and that helps a lot,” said assistant captain Patrice Bergeron “You can’t say enough about the importance of that, because if one or two lines are off you still have others you can rely on. You look at the teams who have won the Cup, that’s a common denominator.”
No doubt the B’s have been great so far but can they keep it up?
“However, we know there will be challenges ahead, so we have to guard against overconfidence,” noted Julien.
If the B’s can stay grounded and put their head down and play their brand of hockey there is no reason why we shouldn’t see the Bruins roster engraved into the side of Lord Stanley’s Cup.