BOSTON -- After nearly two months, the Bruins are finally free of the muck and the mire.
They snapped a span of 25 consecutive games without back-to-back wins by closing down a 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden on Thursday night, further evidence that things are once again spinning in the right direction.
More than protecting their No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, or finding out exactly how hard Johnny Boychuk can fire a puck through a sea of Sabres, Thursdays win against a desperate Buffalo team was another in growing series of signs that the Bruins are finally getting their stuff together.
It all started with a solid losing effort against the Rangers last weekend.
I was encouraged by our play in New York a 4-3 loss on Sunday and its just kept coming along in the next game Tuesday night's 5-4 victory in Toronto," said coach Claude Julien. "I think thats what were looking for now . . . a consistent effort, and hopefully they turn into wins.
When you got the amount of injuries you have, you take every win for what they are and tonight was a good win for us.
The winning needs to continue for the Bruins, who were beginning to look like potential playoff road kill.
You can ask anybody in the league. Theyll tell you that theres no 'on' or 'off' switch, said Gregory Campbell. Its a clich, but thats how it works. You have to be playing well going into the playoffs because the level of competition is so high, so close and so hard that you have to be firing on all cylinders.
With the last 20 or so games left, every game is important to every team no matter what situation theyre in . . . Were a team that wants to do something special again and if we dont play to our strengths, then it would be extremely hard for us. There were things that we had to address, but in the last little while weve responded well.
Things still arent perfect for the Black and Gold, but theyre getting better by the day. Nathan Horton (concussion) and Rich Peverley (knee) were both spotted walking around in the dressing room after Thursdays morning skate, underscoring the notion that reinforcements are expected to arrive before the regular season is over.
And the guys on the ice are getting it done as well.
Jordan Caron logged an assist on the game-winner and found himself promoted to a forward line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Hes got six points over the last three games and has stepped into a major right-wing void created by the teams injuries.
Perhaps even more importantly, the fourth line got into the action and kicked in Bostons first goal of the game. It was the first point for Gregory Campbell in 19 games and the first time Shawn Thornton had cracked the scoresheet since a shootout win over the Nashville Predators on Feb. 11.
Though things are a little different with rookie left winger Lane MacDermid skating in place of the injured Daniel Paille alongside Thornton and Campbell, the Bs Merlot Line is the ultimate bellwether for the team's current state of affairs.
I think the way we have been playing for the last week or so is the style of play youre used to seeing from us," said Thornton. "As long as we keep putting up efforts and everyone is showing up every night, the wins will come with those kinds of performances.
Even Tim Thomas locked things down after allowing a particularly disheartening goal to Jason Pominville in the first period. Thomas made 19 saves and stood tall once the Bs took the lead in the third period.
With two wins in a row finally under the belt, the Bs have set their sights for three straight with a Saturday afternoon matchup against the reeling Capitals.Or perhaps even four with a Sunday matinee against the Pittsburgh Penguins --buoyed by word that Sidney Crosby is cleared for contact at practice --at the CONSOL Energy Center.
It's all part of trying to cobble together a nice, healthy winning streak before the playoffs.