The Bruins have been an absolute force to be reckoned with, and are still hot on a ten-game winning streak that they’re hoping to extend to eleven games come Friday, when they play the Colorado Avalanche on enemy ice. Not only are the B’s destroying their competition on the ice, but they’re dominating the standings as well, holding the top spot in the Eastern Conference, and sitting at second place in the entire league with 99 points, following the west’s St. Louis Blues, who have 101 points.
Luck or Skill?
The question surrounding the Bruins’ late-season streak revolves around whether or not this is coming from pure luck, or if their on-ice system is truly working. All evidence suggests the latter.
When it comes to execution, the Bruins have been commanding the scoreboard, outscoring their opponents 41-15 in their last ten games. The huge gap in goals scored and goals against speaks not only to the offensive skill of the team, but to the hard working blueliners that defend the Bruins’ net from the puck.
Top 4 Bruins goal scorers in past 11 games play on different lines: Iggy (9), Bergeron (4), Campbell (4), Soderberg (3). Testament to depth.
— Ian McLaren (@iancmclaren) March 19, 2014
The beauty of this most recent ten-game streak is that the entire team seems to be alive on the ice lately, with fourteen different players adding to the score of those games. The key to the Bruins’ success as of late is contribution from each offensive line, as noted by coach Claude Julien after the Bruins’ latest win, a 4-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday at the Prudential Center. “We’ve played five games in seven days and that’s got to be tough on the players,” Julien said. “In order to have that kind of success in that short span, you’ve got to be able to utilize your whole bench as much as you can.”
The Bruins have been dealing with injuries, but are not nearly as banged up as some of their other Eastern Conference rivals, including the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings, who lead the league with man games lost, with 413 and 313 lost, respectively. The Bruins also seem to be operating on a system of scratching healthy players in an attempt to keep them fresh, working in newly acquired d-men like Andrej Meszaros and Corey Potter. For example, Torey Krug was kept from the lineup against the Phoenix Coyotes on March 13, and while the rookie wasn’t too pleased about being a healthy scratch for the first time in his NHL career, he understood that this was what was happening. Cycling defensemen to prevent them from overexerting themselves before the playoffs is a smart, smart move.
Iginla Has Streak of His Own
Jarome Iginla is on fire, proving that maybe Boston was the right place for him after all. His current six-game point streak is impressive, and during the Bruins’ last ten games, Iginla has notched twelve points for himself, including nine goals. His most recent goal against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday was his 556th career goal, tying him at 25th place in the overall scoring list with Johnny Bucyk, a Boston great who played for the Bruins from 1957-1978, and whose retired number #9 hangs in the rafters at TD Garden above the team’s home ice.
At 36-years-old, the right-winger doesn’t appear to be slowing down. Milestone after milestone, Iginla proves his skill each night, skating on the Bruins’ first line with Milan Lucic and David Krejci, who absolutely know how to feed him a pass and set him up for a goal. The first line has been dominant, and having a powerhouse veteran forward like Iginla certainly doesn’t hurt.
The Bruins hit the road for a few days, with two away games to focus on. The first of which will take place on Friday in Colorado against Gabe Landeskog and the Avalanche (44-20-6), and the second will be another contest against the Phoenix Coyotes (33-25-11) in Glendale, Arizona. The last time the Bruins were on a ten-game winning streak was in November 2011, and the longest streak in franchise history was 14-games. The team definitely has time to keep extending their streak. There’s always room for improvement, but with only thirteen games left in the regular season, every shift, pass, and shot on goal will have to count if the Bruins want to hold on to first place in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.