The Boston Bruins are back from a mandatory nine-day bye-week/All-Star break and are looking better than ever.
First off, the Bruins beat the Winnipeg Jets in a heavyweight contest at Bell MTS Place. The momentum carried over to Saturday night when the Bruins dismantled the Minnesota Wild.
Before the All-Star break, the Bruins had plenty of problems. In the 30-game finish to the regular season, the Bruins have to buckle up and set the tone moving towards the playoffs. Here are three reasons to believe the Bruins returned much revived.
- Special teams explosion: Before the break, the Bruins were 0-for-16 on the power play. Following a franchise-record 14-game streak of scoring at least one power-play tally, that was miserable. The Bruins went five-for-eight on the man advantage in Winnipeg and Minnesota. They were also 10-for-11 on the penalty kill. The Bruins confirm their status as the elite special-team squad in the NHL.
- Physicality as we have not seen before: You know what? The Bruins can be physical, as well. The Jets drilled the physical play before they approached the ice to face Boston. However, the Bruins were up to the task. Charlie McAvoy destroyed Mark Scheifele, the Jets’ very best forward. Karson Kuhlman ended the night for Matthieu Perreault. Then he dropped the mitts with Luca Sbisa. The Bruins finished the game with three fighting majors and four fights in general. That has happened for the first time this season. The Bruins showed they won’t get pushed around easily.
- Goaltending: Tuukka Rask was injured, Jaroslav Halak seemingly hit his worst regular-season sequence when needed as the number one netminder. Unfortunate situation. Nevertheless, Rask came back and looked better than ever with 37 saves on 38 shots against him. Halak bounced back with a nice 25-save performance against 26 shots he faced to stop the Wild. The Bruins’ goaltending rotation proved to be gold, it oughts to continue like that the rest of the way.
The back-to-back situation against two desperate Central Division teams on the road with an 8-2 score was pretty impressive. Can the Bruins continue to look greatly revived and renewed?