The Bruins scored a touchdown and then a two point conversion Friday night, taking full advantage of a Florida team that was visibly exhausted. The Panthers had played the night before in Ottawa, had played 3 games in 4 days, and were missing 7 forwards. So anything less than a Bruins win was unacceptable.
What I liked most about this win, apart from the TD Garden crowd chanting "Merry Christmas," was how the Bruins continued to apply pressure. In years past, the B's would get a 2 or 3 goal lead, then try to cruise for the rest of the game. And it frequently bit them in the ass. See: 2010 playoff series vs. Philadelphia.
But this season, we're seeing the Bruins improve once they get a lead. They smell blood and the water and it excites them like piranhas. That's why we've seen them score so many goals within a single minute.
Obviously Brad Marchand was the star of the game, netting his first career hat-trick. Give Seguin some additional credit for that assist on Marchand's third.
What might be a bit overlooked is that Tuukka Rask stopped all 30 shots he faced. That's 2 straight shutouts for Tuukka, plus the clean 3rd period he played in net in Columbus. That's 7 periods and 155 minutes since he allowed his last goal, 4:50 into the 3rd in Winnipeg on December 6th. And he's this team's backup goalie.
The Bruins are 20-2-1 since the end of October. And it's because they're getting contributions from Marchand, from Rask, from Seguin, from everyone.
They don't play until Wednesday night in Phoenix. It's the start of a 3 game road trip that will stretch into 2012.