Mark Zaleski/Associated Press
Heading into the break for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games at 37-16-4, the Boston Bruins have a comfortable lead atop the Atlantic Division standings and sit second in the Eastern Conference behind the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Despite playing without defensive leader Zdeno Chara—who skipped the last two games before the break to be Slovakia's flag bearer—the Bruins pounded the Ottawa Senators 7-2 in their final contest, setting a season high for goals scored with a dozen Bs earning a point.
They went 8-1-2 over their last 11 games.
For the Bruins, depth and goaltending are the keys to their continued success this season.
With defenseman Dennis Seidenberg out for the season, the Bruins are relying on some young guys to pick up his minutes and responsibilities. Dougie Hamilton and Tory Krug are among the best blue-line prospects in the league, and Matt Bartkowski has impressed Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli.
Offensively, the Bruins boast eight players with at least 12 goals on the season so far, and nine have earned 30 points or more.
They don't have significant star power without an Alex Ovechkin or Sidney Crosby type, but they have 13 different game-winning-goal scorers as evidence of their ability to get key contributions from different members on a regular basis.
In goal, Tuukka Rask leads the league with five shutouts and is in the top 10 in save percentage and goals-against average. With 25 wins, he's earning every penny of that fat contract he signed in the offseason.
In only his second season as a starter in the NHL, Rask has never played more than 45 games and is just two shy of that heading into the break. He'll be the go-to goalie for Team Finland in the Sochi Games and then come back to a compressed schedule down the stretch.
There's not much time for rest in there, and the Bruins are not planning on sitting Rask more often in the near future.
if Rask falters over the remaining couple of months, the Bruins might lose their shot at home ice for the playoffs.