Turning 180-degrees in a matter of weeks is impressive. Doing it in under 11 days is downright near impossible. But the Bruins have managed to take their dull and dreary season of October and turn November into a month to remember.
It doesn't take much to remember the disparity Boston was going through at the end of October. The Bruins had lost their last three games, two of which were to the dreaded Canadiens, and nothing was going right. The entire first line had been split up, combinations of passes and shots had both players and fans looking at each other with confused looks on their faces, and in the short span between being Stanley Cup Champs and driving hard into the ground, trade rumors had already started.
They had hit rock bottom, and it was only a couple of weeks into the season.
But then, November hit. Something clicked for the Bruins, and it took one game against the Ottawa Senators and all of a sudden there was some urgency, though not a panicked one. The cautious yet calm nature of the team after the 5-3 win was palpable. Every single player in that locker room credited the other linemates or teammates in the victory. Taking the emphasis off individual play and putting it all towards teamwork seemed to work for the Bruins, and they haven't looked back since. They haven't needed to.
Each game became "'that game" that the Bruins had to come out and perform. They stressed that one good game wouldn't cut it, and they needed to come out the next game and prove it wasn't a fluke. So they came out against the Maple Leafs and crushed them, 7-0. But that still wasn't enough.
The Islanders came next and though that team had just come off a huge win against the Washington Capitals, Boston continued on their run with huge goals from Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin that sparked them to a 6-2 win. In doing that, they also provided Tuukka Rask with his first win of the season.
Now, factoring in last night's 6-3 win against one of the Western Conference's best teams, the Edmonton Oilers, the Bruins have won four straight and remain undefeated in the month of November.
"I don’t know if in the beginning of the season, there was this emotional thing that just wasn’t there," Bruins forward Tyler Seguin said. "I don’t know if it’s because you’re on a high and the Cup run, and obviously you’re going to get emotional in every regular season game, but it’s just maybe a little different. I think guys have found their way now and know how to get back to business, and they seem to be doing it."
Seguin, as well as Lucic both extended their point streaks, and Lucic is now pampering a five-game goal streak. His double fist pump in the air after his goal last night combined with his obvious elation after the game only helped solidify that he's in his space and is feeling very confident.
"For myself, it's going to the net hard and sticking around the front of the net and banging them in," Lucic said about his recent success. "Just feeling good about my game, feeling hot and just having fun. Confidence is definitely building and it's getting to where we want it to be."
It took them a while--the first four weeks of the season-- to figure out what they were doing wrong, but when they did the results were astounding. In those four games the Bruins have outscored their opponents 24-8, allowing only three goals in any given game and chased the opposing goalies from their nets in two of those games.
"I think in October we were doing things that we weren’t used to doing like coming to the middle on the blue lines and turning the puck over," defenseman Johnny Boychuk said. "We thought it was creating turnovers and it wasn’t really helping us and we figured that out. And once we started to chip the pucks in and forecheck on them it started turning around especially the last four games. We’ve started to do that more and it’s been working."
Even when plagued with injuries early on, they have managed with five defenseman at times and learned to improvise on the ice. Zach Hamill and Jordan Caron have stepped up when necessary and despite it all, the Bruins have looked like a brand new team. They will host the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, and though Lucic says the confidence hasn't peaked yet, you can be sure the confidence and consistency will be there again Saturday night.
"It’s good. We’re winning battles. We’re working hard out there. We’re playing the full 60," Seguin said. "I think right now, that’s the main thing, is consistency, and that’s what we’re doing."