WILMINGTON The Bruins are darn near impossible to beat when theyre getting contributions from their bottom six forwards, and thats a big reason for their giant November.
The Bs third line, in particular, has been on fire as Boston has captured 11 wins during 12 games over the past month while rocketing up the standings in the Eastern Conference. Everybody has noticed the seven goals and 11 points chalked up by the suddenly dangerous Chris Kelly, but the sneaky quick Rich Peverley has stepped up with a goal and nine assists along with a plus-8 in 10 games.
Who would have guessed that with December right around the corner Kelly would have more goals than Jason Spezza, Henrik Sedin, Teemu Selanne, Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin?
Its going well and the team is doing well. The personal accolades are there right now, but I dont change my game too much, said Kelly. Its about our line being as consistent as they can be. We dont dwell on it when they dont, or get too excited when shots are falling.
Benoit Pouliot and Jordan Caron have teamed up for three goals and six points during Bostons winning binge as well, and have given the Bruins the depth needed for their system to have effectiveness. When the Bruins come in wave after wave of forwards shifts and pressure the other teams defensemen, it creates the turnovers and mistakes that eventually lead to Boston offense.
Its the formula that worked after the Bruins brought in Kelly and Peverley at the trade deadline, its the one that allowed them to roll through four very good teams en route to the Stanley Cup and its been key to the November roll theyve found themselves riding.
The fourth line has likewise chipped in with four goals after a quiet first month to the season, and its all part of the Black and Gold strategy. When the third and fourth line kicks in offense, good things start to happen.
Weve been trying to build our team that way for a few years, said Claude Julien, who has rolled four lines during his tenure in Boston through thick and thin times. You try to get at least three lines that can score on a regular basis, and we actually feel that our fourth line can do that also. But their job first and foremost is to give our team energy and they do that very well.
With the way our team is built its exactly the way we wanted it built.
There are legitimate questions as to whether the Bruins can keep up that kind of production all season, of course. But its increasingly tough to argue with the way the Bruins are built based on last years Stanley Cup, and the way theyve roared back from the abyss of a dismal 3-7 start in October. If depth is the answer in todays NHL then Kelly and the Bruins arent facing too many more questions after a month to remember.