What a difference a month makes.
In October, many fans were jumping off the Boston Bruins’ bandwagon after opening the 2011-12 campaign with a month of 3-7. The opening month saw coach Claude Julien juggle his lines on more than one occasion and outside of Tyler Seguin the defending Cup Champs seemed out of sync. In the end, the Bruins saw themselves dead last in the Northeast Division standings and were second worse in the entire National Hockey League.
The Stanley Cup hangover had to be real right?
But then November came and the Bruins are looking more and more like the Stanley Cup champions from the 2010-11 campaign.
Beginning with their 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators at the beginning of the month, Boston was rolling along and climbed from the bottom of the Northeast Division standings to the top after concluding the month with a 6-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs Wednesday night at the Air Canada Centre. Led by the top line of David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton Wednesday, the Bruins extended their unbeaten streak to 13 with a 12-0-1 record during that span.
The Bruins finished unbeaten for an entire month for the first time since January of 1969 when they went 10-0-4 in 14 games.
The Bruins (15-7-1, 31 points), who were also dead last in the Eastern conference after October, find themselves in second place in the East trailing Pittsburgh by one point with two games in hand.
All of this didn’t seem possible in October.
“Going 12-0-1 is more than I think anyone imagined,” Lucic said after his two-goal performance Wednesday. “It all comes down to the commitment of all the guys and our game plan that we did this whole month.
“A big reason for that wasn’t one line or a pair of defensemen. It was everyone stepping up, doing their job and playing more like we ended off last year.”
Everyone on the Bruins played their role in the team’s successful November. When the top line was struggling to find the back of the net, the second (Seguin, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand) and third (Benoit Pouliot, Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley) helped contribute to the team’s scoring. The fourth line of Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton did what they do best by providing energy to the lineup and throwing their weight around.
Defensively, Joe Corvo is starting to fit in with his new club, Adam McQuaid has played well as a stay-at-home defenseman, Johnny Boychuk, Andrew Ference and Dennis Seidenberg have been solid and captain Zdeno Chara is looking like a Norris Trophy favorite after tallying 14 points (4 goals, 10 assists) and a plus-14 rating during the month.
Goaltending wise, Tim Thomas is already improving on last year’s historic season and Tuukka Rask is getting a little more comfortable between the pipes.
At the end of October, many were pondering if a trade was needed to shake up the team after the slow start. Names like Krejci and Rask — both RFA’s at the end of the year — were being rumored as possibile targets to be shipped elsewhere by General Manager Peter Chiarelli.
With November now behind, talks of a trade have been put to the back burner for now and talks of repeating as Cup champs are gaining steam in The Hub of Hockey.