Bruins Give Fans a Reason to Celebrate the Holidays

Turkey makes you sleepy. If you are like me and find yourself sleepwalking through post-Turkey Day meals by indulging in Thanksgiving leftovers a week after the holiday is over, you can blame the tryptophan. Thanks to an episode of Seinfeld, millions of viewers found out why they feel sleepy after having turkey dinners – it’s the tryptophan. Thankfully, the Boston Bruins did not gorge themselves on turkey during the Thanksgiving holiday.

A streaking Bruins team seems immune to tryptophan’s effects. After speed-bagging their rivals, the Montreal Canadiens, they have surged to an 11-0-4 record on TD Garden ice. Heading into December, they seem to be hitting a stride and developing chemistry akin to strong playoff contenders.

Thanksgiving Hangover?

In America, Black Friday (the day after Turkey Day) is increasingly marked by raging crowds of consumers searching the latest and greatest in holiday cheer only to find themselves elbow-deep in the tense uneasiness that accompanies holiday shopping. Coincidentally, I use Black Friday as a catalyst to jump-start my holiday light decorating. Indeed, days after American Thanksgiving found me fighting to hang wreaths and testing dozens of light fixtures with miles of extension cords.

Tuukka Rask Boston Bruins
Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

So, after a comeback win against the New York Rangers in the NHL’s newly-minted annual Thanksgiving Showdown, the Bruins stood at six straight wins, and my lights were still on the living room floor. I’d get them up before the Montreal game for sure, right?

Cold Turkey

Wrong. A third of my outside lights are hung, another third is Jackson Pollocked on the floor between a smattering of as-of-yet unhung wreaths while the final third is bird-nested at my feet. The Bruins’ win streak is excellent for the fans, but delaying display of my holiday celebration.

Although on a seven-game win streak, the Bruins have started slowly in their most recent games. The Thanksgiving Showdown saw them sleepwalking through most of the first two periods. Appearing to be suffering from a glitch in the Matrix that saw their schedule paste four games on them in six days, the Bruins struggled early against the Rangers, spotting them a two-goal lead.

They came back to win it to push their streak to six. Again, three nights ago, the Bruins spotted Montreal’s blue, blanc en rougue an early goal by Joel Armia only to storm back and take two points in a 3-1 win. These slow starts are a problem that head coach Bruce Cassidy will surely address, but in their ability to come back, the Bruins are showing themselves to be a team of resilience.

Gravy Train

By this time, my lighting project is in ruins. Luckily for me (and other light hangers), the Bruins are rolling! During their seven-game win streak, the they have outscored their opponents 29 to 12. Home to the league’s goal-scoring leader in David Patrnak (25), a career-year, point-potting machine in Brad Marchand (43), a torrid power play (31.6 percent), along with the stingy defensive play and timely goaltending have propelled the Bruins to the top the NHL’s Atlantic Division with 43 points.

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However, it’s not just the individual play that has propelled the Bruins up the rankings. They have benefited from last June’s Game 7 Stanley Cup loss. That loss seems to have ignited an urgency to this year’s edition of the team in that it has created a sense of chemistry akin to those forged through collective struggle. Although Pastrnak and Marchand are pacing career years, it cannot be lost that the defensive end of the ice has been substantial.

Currently, at 84.5 percent, the Bruins’ shorthanded play can surely improve. Ranked seventh amongst NHL teams, criticism may be muted as they have plugged multiple rotations of defensive pairings throughout the season’s first quarter. All things considered, they have given themselves a beautiful view amongst the league’s top teams. Sitting second in both goals allowed and goals scored gives them a delicate balance of offensive prowess and defensive stinginess.

Lights Out!

I didn’t finish the lights – they’re still mostly scattered amongst the ornaments and wreaths on my living room floor. Remarkably, the Bruins’ strong play has been a result of a lineup that, as of yet, hasn’t been entirely healthy.

Boston Bruins celebrate David Pastrnak
Boston Bruins celebrate David Pastrnak’s goal. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Stalwart Patrice Bergeron is nursing a lower-body injury while both John Moore and defensive anchor Kevan Miller are working their way back to the lineup. There are lots to be thankful for in Bruins country, and needless to say, they, like my holiday engineering project, have been lights out as of late.