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Bruins Find Their Footing Back in Boston

Back on November 5th, the Bruins watched another winnable game slip through their grasp after the Dallas Stars prevailed 3-2 in the shootout. To add insult to injury, both former Bruins Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley notched a goal in the shootout victory while newcomer Loui Eriksson looked downright invisible on the ice. The week before wasn’t anything to write home about either: the Bruins had lost three of their last four games (including two losses to the sub-.500 New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders).

After the Bruins polished off the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 in overtime on November 14th, that loss to Dallas feels like last season. The Bruins have won their past four games (outscoring their opponents 13-4), and taken nine out of a possible ten points from a five-game home stand. So what’s been the difference? It’s not just the familiar confines of the TD Garden in Boston. For the Black and Gold, it’s always about balance and goaltending, and their recent success is no different.

It’s obvious that the Bruins have been getting significant contributions from between the pipes. The Dallas game marks the last time any team has scored more than a goal on Tuukka Rask (who’s quietly leading the league in save percentage, and second in the league with an Eastern Conference leading 1.53 GAA). Chad Johnson has been solid in his role as Boston’s second goaltender, playing very well (minus one very poorly placed rebound) in the Bruins win over Columbus. As it stands now, the Bruins are leading the league in GAA with a sparkling 1.7 goals against per game, and that’s exactly what they had in mind when the organization signed Rask to an eight-year deal at the start of the season.

Bruins Find Their Footing Back in Boston
Jarome Iginla (#12) and the rest of the Boston Bruins celebrate with Milan Lucic (#17) after an overtime win against the Blue Jackets. The Bruins secured 9 out of a possible 10 points during a five-game home stand.
(Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

As for balance, during the past four games at home, the Bruins have had it in spades. Each line has contributed offensively, and Boston’s gotten goals from nine different forwards and all four lines during their current four-game winning streak. The oft-cited best fourth line in hockey (Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell, and Shawn Thornton) has even started to get going offensively, contributing goals by Thornton and Paille at key moments during games.

The Bruins have also gotten some offensive pop from their defense, getting goals from Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug. Krug’s been pushing his way into the Calder Trophy conversation, notching six goals and five assists in the first seventeen games, all the while posting a +4 rating. That’s good enough to lead the Bruins defense in points, and it’s really not close (Dougie Hamilton is next in line for defensemen with five points).

While the Bruins have found their game back in Boston, they’ll have to take it with them on the road. This Friday marks the start of the a three-game road trip that’ll match the B’s up against the Ottawa Senators, the Carolina Hurricanes, and the New York Rangers. This recent surge has put Boston within striking distance of first place in the less-than-aptly named Atlantic division, and they’re only three points back of the Tampa Bay Lightning with two games in hand. With the quarter poll of the season just around the corner, the Bruins are in a prime position to solidify themselves at the top of an otherwise flat Eastern Conference. It may have started with a heartbreaking loss to Dallas, but it’s tough not to look at the Bruins’ five-game home stand as a turning point in this young season. Now we get to see if that hard-hitting, balanced attack travels with this team on the road.

Sean Gilpatrick

Sean Gilpatrick

Sean graduated from Roger Williams University in 2011 with a degree in English Literature. He's been watching the Bruins long enough to remember when Cam Neely wore skates instead of a suit. Sergei Samsonov is his spirit animal.
Sean Gilpatrick

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