They had won five in a row coming into Wednesday’s matchup against the Montreal Canadiens. Ironically enough, they were looking to snap their five-game losing streak against Les Habitants.
By the end of the night, the Boston Bruins snapped that five-game skid against the Habs and increased their winning streak to six.
Behind a three-goal second period – with goals coming from Carl Soderberg, Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic – and a strong performance from Tuukka Rask (35 saves), the Black and Gold earned a 4-1 victory over their rivals at the Bell Centre.
Not bad for a team that looked a little sluggish in the opening 20 minutes, where they were outshot 13-6 by the Habs.
“It’s nice to finally get a result against these guys,” Lucic told reporters after becoming the third Bruin to score 20 goals on the season.
After the slow start where they had a difficult time catching up with the speedy Habs forwards, the Black and Gold got back to basics. Midway through the first – and certainly by the start of the second – the B’s were cycling the puck, slowed the pace down and displayed their physical prowess.
“I think [we got back to] what our gameplan was; and that was to focus on what we needed to do, rather than focus on the Montreal Canadiens,” Lucic said to NBCSN’s Pierre McGuire. “Once we got out of that first 10 minutes – coming out of that 0-0 – we had some strong shifts to finish off the end of the first, and it carried over to the second period and we got rewarded for that.”
That display is what The Hub of Hockey is used to seeing. They’re seeing this during the six-game streak. But they didn’t always see this intensity against their rivals.
It’s why some in the Boston media called Wednesday’s contest a “must win” game. That might have been a bit of a stretch, especially a team who had an 11-point lead over the second place team in the Atlantic Division heading in – the Toronto Maple Leafs – but there’s no denying that the B’s needed to make a statement.
And that, they did. In more ways than one.
The Bruins and the Habs meet each other once more in the 2013-14 regular season a week from St. Patrick’s Day. For sure, the B’s will look to take care of business and by then could very well solidify their fourth division title in six seasons.
But they have bigger things to accomplish outside the Atlantic Division. The win pulled the Black and Gold within one point of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Surely, the Black and Gold weren’t perfect by any means. But they made their statement against a team who had their number.
With 17 games left in the 2013-14 regular season, the Bruins are looking to make more statements before preparing for another run at the Stanley Cup.
“We know its not easy and we know we need to play a certain way and feeling good about ourselves before heading into the playoffs,” said Lucic, who added five hits on the night. “That’s what our main goal is here with 17 games left. And that’s where our focus is at.”
The consistency of the Black and Gold was apparent again Wednesday night. They like where their game is at, and they see things looking even brighter. And who can blame them?
“We’re pretty happy where our game is heading right now,” Rask said.