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BOSTON -- While the Bruins and coach Claude Julien were thrilled to have back-to-back wins for the first time in nearly two month on Thursday, they said they were more impressed with the consistent effort that has been building since their hard-fought 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers this past Sunday.
|David Krejci celebrates his third-period goal, which linemate Milan Lucic said was the result of perseverance.|
Unlike so many other losses over the last month, the Bruins came away from that game with a sense of confidence and a sense that they had finally tuned a corner.
On Tuesday, they carried that momentum into Toronto and won 5-4, and they built off that win with a 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres, marking the first time they've won consecutive games since Jan. 10 and 12.
While they'll gladly take the wins, the effort is what has the Bruins really looking up.
"We've been obviously battling with our consistency, and even though this is our first back-to-back win in a long time, I was encouraged by our play in New York and it's just kept coming along," Julien said. "Obviously winning [Tuesday], and then again tonight a pretty decent effort, I think that's what we're looking for now is more a consistent effort and hopefully they turn into wins."
With injuries mounting of late, the Bruins had even more adversity to battle on top of their inconsistent play and lack of scoring in February, when they were shut out five times. But over the last four days, the frustration that had settled into the dressing room seems to have dissipated and the Bruins have begun to see light at the end of the tunnel.
"It was frustrating especially when you're on one game and off one or two games and on one game and so on," said winger Milan Lucic, who had an assist Thursday and has six points in his last five games. "Getting shut out five times in February definitely was frustrating.
"But now we're getting that mindset where we're having fun and feeling good about ourselves. That helps you stay in that zone you want to be in. You keep pushing for more and you're not going to be satisfied. We need to keep that going.
"In New York against the Rangers, we worked really hard and our work ethic was back where it needed to be. We took that and went with it. We stopped questioning ourselves and regained our focus."
Lucic credited that mindset for the goal he and linemates David Krejci and Tyler Seguin combined on, with Krejci scoring to give the Bruins a two-goal cushion at 15:54 of the third period.
"We talked about missing the opportunities," Lucic said. "Our mindset while we were talking about it on the bench as a line was just, 'Keep going, we're eventually going to get one here.' That was our mindset for the whole game, just keep going and try to do whatever we can to help our team get a big goal. Those insurance goals are always big ones, and it was good that we were able to get it."
Center Gregory Campbell scored the Bruins' first goal, his first lamplighter in 20 games. Campbell credited his goal and the team's back-to-back wins to the return of the confidence that is taking over the dressing room. He, too, pointed to New York.
"I think that was a test of adversity and character and putting efforts like that, I don't think you can get discouraged," Campbell said. "Good hockey teams don't. We recognize when we play a good game, and while you're not going to win every game, that was a really good effort by our team and something we can build on. In the end, those efforts pay off and lead to success and we're seeing that now."
With the playoffs quickly approaching, Campbell and the Bruins realize how important it is to maintain their confidence -- win or lose -- and stay even-keeled, which is what helped them through the playoffs on their Cup run last season.
"We have to be firing on all cylinders here and with the last 20 games or so left, every game is important to every team, no matter what situation the team is in," Campbell said. "It almost is like playoff hockey, but as I learned quickly last year, once you hit the playoffs, it's another level.
"We're a team that wants to do something special again and if we don't play to our strengths, it's going to be extremely hard for us. There's been things we had to address and the last little while, we've responded pretty well."