NEWARK The numbers are really beginning to pile up for the Bruins when it comes to winning and losing time in the third period.
The Bs are 19-0-0 when taking a lead into the third period of a game this season. But the Bs have been even better than the numbers show, turning the final 20 minutes of hockey games into their own personal playground this season.
They did it again with three goals in the third against New Jersey to turn a tight hockey game against the Devils into a blowout win at the Prudential Center.
Patrice Bergeron's one-timer for his second goal of the game minutes into the third period made it a 4-1 game and completely gut-punched the Devils. It was just another case of the Bruins delivering a late game knockout punch.
We have the experience where weve done it both ways here in the past and learned from our mistakes, said Shawn Thornton. All year I think weve been a pretty good team whether its tied or better going into the third. Weve done a good job of getting that next one and keeping the pressure on the other team.
Feasting on opponents in the third period certainly shows a killer instinct the Bruins developed last season, but it also clearly puts their great team depth into action. Other teams simply cant keep up pace with the Bruins for three periods as they roll four lines.
Its just part of what we went through last year. You get in the playoffs and it was a two month run where you dont have a choice, said Claude Julien. You have to have that killer instinct every night. I think we definitely improved in that area, built that and carried it over into this season.
We understand you cant let your guard down in this league. How many times do you see teams blow two or three goal leads, teams come back and thats just the way hockey is these days. We understand that and know that you simply need killer instinct these days.
The Bruins are an amazing plus-32 in the third period this season after the three-goal outburst against the Devils and hold an interesting distinction in the NHL this season: They havent been outscored in the third periods of any of their first 16 road games this year, the longest streak to start an NHL season.
All of those numbers may change, however, as the Bruins begin playing more road games and battling through the weary legs that can go along with it. But this isnt foreign territory either.
The Bs were the NHLs best third period club last season as well, and seem to simply be playing an even better variation on a theme this season with every other team serving as their unwitting victims. Wednesday night it was the Devils, but they wont be the only ones.