It took a little more than two weeks for the Bruins' to get back into the mix atop the Northeast Division and Eastern Conference standings. It took a stretch of extraordinary play in order to atone for the lackadaisical start to the season. The Bruins have won 11 of 12, and accumulated 23 points in that stretch. That was after earning only 6 points in their first 10 games. It's almost December, but it sort of feels as though the season is starting over. We're back to Square 1.
The three games over the holiday weekend exemplified some of the Bruins' best qualities, and why they've been able to go on such a run.
Wednesday night Buffalo wanted revenge, both physically and on the scoreboard. The Bruins beat them in both departments. Milan Lucic isn't much of a fighter anymore, but he can still throw down.
The B's fell behind but Seguin scored, then added an assist, then Chara scored on the Power Play. Thomas was unreal in the shootout and the Bruins outlasted the Sabres.
The winning streak came to an end Friday afternoon against Detroit. But it was hardly due to lack of effort. The B's dominated most of the game, Detroit scored a few breakaways, and the Bruins couldn't get any bounces near the net.
Saturday night the Bruins needed two Winnipeg goals and a timeout before waking up. Once they did, they won the battles on the boards, ground out their offense, and played excellent shutdown defense on Winnipeg's talented forwards. Rich Peverley's astute puck-carrying set up a pair of Chris Kelly goals (he has 9 already, his previous career high was 15). Tim Thomas did the rest.
Excellent goaltending, a stingy penalty kill (85% in November), a productive power play unit (22.8% in November), lots of scoring by Seguin (8 goals in November), some timely offensive contributions from Chara (14 points in November), and getting production from guys like Kelly.
That's how the Bruins have gone from the cellar of the Conference to contending for the top spot. They have a big home-and-home series against the Maple Leafs starting Wednesday night in Toronto. They've beaten Toronto twice by a combined score of 13-2, so let's hope that trend continues.