-Season Record: 42-23-10, 94 points, 1st in Northeastern Division, 3rd in Eastern Conference
-Week Record: 3-1-0 (6 of 8 points)
-Tuesday: 4-1 win over New Jersey Devils
-Thursday: 7-0 win over Montreal Canadiens
-Saturday: 1-0 loss to New York Rangers
-Sunday: 2-1 win over Philadelphia Flyers
-Success Meter: 9/10
Hockey is an unpredictable game. The Bruins are an unpredictable team. But sometimes unpredictability is what makes a team dangerous.
With a 1-3-3 record over their last seven games prior to this week, the Bruins’ consistency had been called into question. There was no telling what team would show up each night.
But the Bruins’ effort this week went a long way towards showing that, while they’re a team that’s often tough to gauge, they’re still a legitimate contender and not just a team that’s going to limp into the playoffs.Sure, their 1-0 loss to the Rangers on Saturday was a bit startling given the team’s offensive explosion versus Montreal on Thursday. Any time you follow up your second highest scoring output of the season with a goose egg, it’s going to make you go all John McEnroe. You cannot be serious, right?
But the B’s simply ran into a hot team with a hot goalie, and the loss can even be attributed to two controversial no-calls that preceded the lone goal.
The Rangers are going to be tough draw for whoever plays them in the first round. They are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games, possess the ability to win on the road and one could argue that Henrik Lundqvist has been the best goaltender in the NHL not named Tim Thomas.
So while the loss might have been an Eephus when B’s fans were thinking fastball, let’s not harp too much on the negativity. After all, Rick Pitino once told me that such negativity “sucks” and “stinks.”
Instead, Bruins fans should focus on the team’s three wins this week, all of which held a great deal of significance.
They looked flat for most of the first period versus New Jersey on Tuesday, but suddenly the B’s turned it on and scored four consecutive goals the rest of the way. That momentum shift carried the Bruins into their much anticipated showdown with the Canadiens on Thursday.
Then, whenever you show up and lay a 7-0 smackdown on your opponent, it’s an encouraging sign. It’s especially encouraging when it’s in a playoff atmosphere in what many had dubbed the team’s biggest game of the season.
And yeah, the Hockey Gods might have plopped the 1-0 slipup to the Rangers in the middle, but the B’s closed out the week with a gritty win over the best team in the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia Flyers.
So how did the Bruins get back on track this week?
Well, they excelled at what’s made them successful in the past—generating traffic in front of the net and cleaning up the garbage on shots from the point.
This was evident on Sunday when Nathan Horton and Brad Marchand both scored power play goals off rebounds from slap shots by Tomas Kaberle and Dennis Seidenberg, respectively.
The Bruins entered the week having scored only two power play goals on their previous 34 attempts. They scored four on 15 opportunities this week, including the two versus the Flyers, who rank 12th in the NHL in penalty killing.
So the Bruins might still be a team that experiences an occasional hiccup. They might even look bad from time-to-time.
But the B’s are officially heading back to the playoffs, and this week’s wins show that they could still be a force once they get there.