BOSTON – Since the NHL trade deadline has come and gone, the new and improved Boston Bruins are playing some of the best hockey of their season to date.
The even-strength goals are arriving in an abundance that they didn’t prior to the acquisition of Taylor Hall, Mike Reilly and Curtis Lazar, the balance up and down the lineup has been undeniable and the introduction of rookie goaltender Jeremy Swayman has given the Black and Gold an energy boost as well.
Even better, Tuukka Rask has returned to good health with back-to-back solid starts, and Matt Grzelcyk could be on the mend sooner rather than later as well.
Put it all together and the Bruins have won four games in a row, outscored quality opponents like the Islanders and Capitals by a 15-6 margin and seem to be brimming with teamwide confidence for the first time in a long time.
That has not gone unnoticed by the Bruins leadership in the dressing room.
“That’s what you want. You can definitely see the confidence growing. That’s what happens when you start getting that belief knowing that you can get back into games like we showed [in Sunday’s 6-3 win over the Capitals],” said Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron, referencing the B’s coming back from a 3-2 deficit to the Capitals after they’d run off three straight goals in the first and second periods. “You can stay in the moment on every play. Having that balance everyone playing well on every line and every D-pairing, and obviously the goaltending.
“Everybody is contributing. That’s the type of hockey where we’ve been successful in the past and that’s the type of hockey you want to be playing this time of year.”
With 13 games remaining and less than a month left in the NHL regular season, there’s ample evidence that the Bruins are hitting their peak performance level. They’re also within six points of the top spot in the East Division with games in hand against the Capitals, Penguins and Islanders, and a four-point cushion on the fifth place Rangers with games in hand against them as well. The Boston Bruins are in an enviable spot following the NHL trade deadline and now it’s about a final, strong push with the playoffs dead ahead in their sights.