The Boston Bruins recently were in the midst of a ten-game losing streak. During this win-less drought they couldn’t score with any consistency and were constantly blowing two goal leads. Needless to say, they couldn’t buy a win and the two-week Olympic break could not come soon enough.
But suddenly, with only one game remaining until the NHL breaks up for the Winter Games, things have changed. The Bruins have won three straight games and maybe don’t need this break after all. While the Black and Gold have won three straight games, they have also earned points in each of their last five contests. This mini-surge has moved them back into the top eight of the Eastern Conference.
The Bruins play in Florida again tomorrow night against the Panthers, where they will look to end the extended first half of the season on a four-game win streak. A win could potentially vault them to sixth in the East heading into the two-week Olympic hiatus.
Give head coach Claude Julien a lot of credit for his teams ability to bounce back and win three straight on the road, especially after a stretch in which some people suggested he was to blame. His job security was briefly in question to some, but Julien stuck with his players and never pointed blame.
Instead of cowering in the talks of his job security, Julien countered with perhaps one of his boldest moves, Julien chose to start youngster Tuuka Rask in place of reigning Vezina Trophy winner, Tim Thomas. Rask has started the team’s last five games, winning three. The only two he let slip away were in shootouts and he seems to be flourishing in the role.
Perhaps this was the type of change the Bruins needed. Not a new coach. Not a trade for a superstar scorer. Just a spark from within the players they already have. Let us not forget that this team is a year removed from having the best regular season record in the Eastern Conference and many of the key components are still in place.
Over the past week, the Bruins have shown glimpses of their tremendous success last season and have seemed to regain the confidence some questioned early on. This team knows they can win. They know they can compete with the top teams in the league.
Win or lose tomorrow night, the Bruins have shown us glimpses of the great team they came to be last season. It will be exciting to see the direction this team takes in last month and a half after the Olympics. And at this point, it certainly looks like it is the right one.