Maybe it was the well lubed St. Patrick's Day crowd. Maybe it was having the Flyers in town. Maybe the Bruins were literally sick of losing. I think all three of these factors played a part in Saturday's perfect storm of intensity. Plus the benching of Joe Corvo, who Claude Julien kindly said was "banged up."
This was how the Bruins won big games last year. It's not raw talent. It's not 40 goal scorers or French Canadian goalies with names that rhyme with Flew-Juan-Go. It's toughness, it's fighting battles, winning battles, making everything difficult for the opponent. Playing sound defense, making the opponent work hard when they're on defense.
There were some mistakes. Some turnovers. Sometimes the Bruins forget how fast certain opponents can close passing lanes. But the B's withstood the Flyers' surges. Thomas played out of his mind. Chara left a physical imprint on the game for the first time in a few weeks. McQuaid embarrassed Hartnell who didn't want to back up his words with fists, then was shepherded across half the ice by Chara. And Johnny Boychuk destroyed Maxime Talbot.
Not only did the Bruins' defensemen do their job on defense, they won the physical game. Chara played like a Captain and Joe Corvo was not missed.
The B's reminded all of us, and more importantly they reminded themselves of what they're capable of. They've got 11 more games in 3 weeks to lock up the Northeast Division. They needed to stop the bleeding. They've done that. They're still 1 point ahead of Ottawa with 2 games in hand.
They remembered how to play Boston Bruins hockey. Let's hope that unlike most Bostonians, they actually remember what they did on St. Patrick's Day and why they did it.
Phil Kessel and the Maple Leafs come to town tonight.