Monday night’s game between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens had it all – great goaltending, a brawl in the stands of the Bell Centre and a fast pace. It might have rehashed the NHL’s oldest rivalry but none of that was important for the Bruins, it was the 1-0 win the Bruins squeaked out that proved most important. The Bruins extended their winning streak to nine games and have not lost since Oct. 29, which oddly enough was against the Canadiens.
The current winning streak has helped propel the Bruins to a tie for first place in the Eastern Conference’s Northwest Division, this after a rough start to the season. In their last nine games, Boston has scored opponents 46-14 with at least six goals five times and less than four just one time, which still resulted in a 2-1 win over the laughable Columbus Blue Jackets. This is the longest win streak for the reigning Stanley Cup champions since they won 10 in a row from Dec. 12, 2008 to Jan. 1, 2009. The franchise record is 14 games which was done during the 1929-30 campaign.
All this success has come after the Bruins finished the month of October with a 3-7-0 record, so how has Boston been able to get back on track after such a dismal month?
One of the biggest reasons for Boston’s recent success has been goaltender Tim Thomas, who seems to just continue to get better as he gets older. Thomas earned his third shutout of the season Monday, coming up with 33 saves and extending his shutout streak to 133 minutes, 4 seconds.
''You've got to learn to win a whole bunch of different ways over the years and that's one of the things we did last year,'' said Thomas.
Now the Bruins must look ahead to Wednesday when they square off against the Buffalo Sabres – a team tied with Boston in the standings despite having played one more game. The Bruins have beaten Buffalo once already this season, a game which was full of controversy after Bruins forward Milan Lucic barreled in to Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, who has not been in the lineup since. Lucic wasn’t suspended for the hit and even called Miller “gutless” after the contest, so we can only imagine that Buffalo will be out to get retribution.
Boston certainly has a tough opponent in its way for win number 10 but no matter the outcome it looks like the Bruins are not going to relinquish the Stanley Cup easily.
Photo courtesy of The Associated Press.