Bruins setting dominant pace on road

Bruins setting dominant pace on road
February 27, 2013, 12:15 am
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UNIONDALE, NY – The outcome was predictable in a match-up at Nassau Coliseum where the Islanders can’t win at home (2-8-0) this season and the Boston Bruins can do no wrong on the road (8-1-1). The Bruins played a good, dominant brand of road hockey and pocked a 4-1 victory over the Islanders despite playing a loose defensive game that isn’t at all in character for them.

There were too many breakaway chances given to the speedy Michael Grabner and Mark Streit was allowed way too much room and time to operate on the Isles power play, but the Bruins are simply too good to lose to the Islanders unless something strange happens.

The B’s are also becoming too good to lose on the road.

Period.

“You hope that we’re the same team at home, but it’s about consistency. Not every night is great, but every night is good enough to win. We’ve been that so far this year,” said Claude Julien. “We’ve had either solid goaltending, or opportunistic scoring or good defensive play. All that stuff gives us the stability that a good team needs, and we’re thriving on that.”

The Bruins finished tied for the most road wins in the Eastern Conference last season, and they’ve been among the NHL’s best teams away from home over the last few years. But it’s gone to a different level this year as they finished off a five-game road trip through Buffalo, Winnipeg, Tampa Bay, Florida and Long Island by taking eight of a possible 10 points.

So why are the Bruins such a “can’t miss” road phenomenon this season?

Much of it has to do with the way they’re built, of course. The combination of superior goaltending from Tuukka Rask and dominant penalty killing means the Bruins will always be at least hanging around in their road tilts. There is also no situation that becomes too big or pressurized for the Black and Gold away from home.

This edition of the Bruins have experienced the raucous Bell Centre at its worst, and partied with beer, champagne and cigars in Vancouver when angry Canucks fans were setting the city on fire less than a mile away.

So a road swing through the barns of the Panthers, Lightning and Islanders isn’t exactly going to faze the Bruins.

The key for Boston on this particular three-game swing through Florida and New York was the B’s ability to get a quick advantage on their opponents. In each of those three wins the Bruins scored the first goal and were able to dictate the action rather than start chasing around the home club.

“They got some shots against us, but I didn’t think we gave up the slot too much. I thought we played a good road home. We’ll obviously take the points,” said Patrice Bergeron. “We keep things simple. We don’t force plays. Getting the lead [on the road] has been a key [for us].

Early on in the year we weren’t so good at that and it’s something we’ve really improved. It gets the momentum on our side so we can play our game and our style. We’re able to establish the kind of hockey we want to play, and on the road that’s very important.”

To Bergeron’s point the Bruins are 10-2 this season when either tied or leading after the first period, and it becomes an uphill battle for opponents against a Boston team that usually peaks in the third period.

That all adds up to something special on the road for a hockey club that’s been dominant in nearly every situation this season.