After Boston extended its winning streak to eight games last Saturday, Bruins forward Milan Lucic inadvertently made a comment, saying he hopes the team isn’t peaking too soon. When Bruins coach Claude Julien learned of the comment, he scoffed at the notion, returned to the locker room and made it clear to his players that the team is far from playing its best.
Since then the Bruins have won two more games and now have won 10 straight and own the top spot in the Eastern Conference with a five-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Boston is in the midst of its longest winning streak since November 2011, a month in which the Bruins posted a 14-0-1 record. During this current streak, the Bruins have outscored their opponents, 41-15.
With their 10th consecutive win, the Bruins match the organization’s fourth-longest winning streak, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The club record for consecutive wins is 14, set during the 1929-30 season.
Similar to the Bruins’ Stanley Cup run in 2011, Julien is able to roll four lines because the team is receiving contributions from everyone in the lineup. Defensively, the coach has been able to tweak his pairings with the hope of finding some consistency before the postseason arrives.
“Our guys have been playing hard throughout the whole lineup,” Julien told reporters after Tuesday’s 4-2 win against the Devils in New Jersey. “We’ve played five games in seven days and that’s got to be tough on the players. In order to have that kind of success in that short span, you’ve got to be able to utilize your whole bench as much as you can and these guys have allowed us to do that with their play, so we’ve been able to manage that better than if we had some guys struggling. It’s been good. Our guys keep believing and doing the right things and that’s given us opportunities to win.”
Iginla produced the winning goal Tuesday night in New Jersey for the third time in the last four games. He leads the Bruins and is tied for sixth in the NHL with seven game-winning goals this season. The future Hall of Famer extended his point streak to six games, with seven goals and one assist during that stretch. Overall, Iginla has 26 goals and 30 assists for 56 points, playing in all 69 games for the Bruins this season. He has 556 career goals, which ties him for 25th place in NHL history with Bruins legend and Hall of Famer Johnny Bucyk.
Throughout the Bruins’ winning streak, Julien has been stressing consistency and not complacency. There are some areas the Bruins need to improve, including the amount of quality scoring chances they’re allowing of late. The opponents’ ability to use the stretch pass through the neutral zone and create breakaways is one aspect that’s alarming. Even goaltender Tuukka Rask made it a point last weekend to mention the breakaways.
Other than that the Bruins are playing well. And with only 13 games remaining in the regular season, they have an opportunity to win the Presidents’ Trophy and secure home-ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Bruins travel to Colorado next, where they'll try to increase their streak to 11 on Friday against the Avalanche.
“Our whole team right now is feeling good about their games and when you feel good about it you seem to have that energy and right now our whole team has a lot of energy,” Julien told reporters Tuesday.