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KANATA, Ontario -- Following the Boston Bruins' 1-0 win Tuesday night over the Ottawa Senators and the completion of an astonishing 6-for-6 road trip, there was a common theme to the players' reactions to what they had just accomplished. To a man, they referenced "the new guys" and the moves general manager Peter Chiarelli made prior to the second game of the trip, also in Ottawa.
|Tomas Kaberle, one of the "new guys," is at the center of the celebration after Nathan Horton scored in the Bruins' 1-0 win.|
The timing of this trip and the acquisitions of forwards Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley as well as defenseman Tomas Kaberle couldn't have been any better, and the Bruins are showing signs they could be true contenders for the Stanley Cup.
"It's great because these guys we got here have really been tremendous for us and such nice guys," said goalie Tuukka Rask, who earned his fourth straight win and second shutout of the season. "It's been just a great time to have them here and win some games, and the atmosphere is great right now."
Rask sees the building momentum as a byproduct of the new additions and the chemistry the Bruins have formed on the trip.
"It means a lot," Rask said. "It all started off on Long Island, and after that, we got the trades done and we really came together as a team spending those days together in Vancouver and getting to know each other. It's a big thing.
"And then getting the wins, too, it helps a lot. You grow as a team and it was a great trip, but we've just got to go home now and do the same thing."
There was a time earlier in the season when the Bruins, like most teams, might have succumbed to the fatigue of eight straight days on the road, through three time zones, and playing two of the league's toughest and hottest teams in Calgary and Vancouver. But the chemistry they have formed and the momentum that is building carried them through what was clearly an off night Tuesday.
"We looked like a real tired team. We've done some miles over the last few days, and it obviously caught up to us," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "But we persevered, and I thought our guys got a little better as the game went on. We found a way to win, and at the end of the night, we'll take the two points."
As Julien pointed out, it isn't that the coaching staff and management didn't believe in the team they had prior to the moves, but it is clear now that the Bruins are fulfilling their potential.
"We've always believed in those guys, and it's just a matter of putting it together," Julien said. "We've talked about consistency, and when you win six in a row, to me that's consistency. We've had some real big challenges along the way, but what we wanted to do was win this game and set ourselves up for a real good match against Tampa Bay Thursday at home, and we got that now."
Forward Shawn Thornton, fresh off his rock video debut Tuesday with a cameo in the video for the new Dropkick Murphys single "Going Out In Style," also pointed to the "new guys" and the team's ability to build momentum while still taking it one game at a time.
"I like the way the guys that we brought in help, and we've been doing a pretty good job of taking it one game at a time," Thornton said. "Looking back it's definitely momentum carrying, and it feels good. We did a good job of stringing them together. If we can get seven in a row, even better."
It would be even better if the Bruins themselves go out in style in mid-June. If they continue to build and play the way they're playing, they could do just that -- and they'd look back to that week in mid-February when the "new guys" arrived.
James Murphy covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.