Rested Habs pose biggest challenge to Bruins' streak

Rested Habs pose biggest challenge to Bruins' streak
March 24, 2014, 12:30 am
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The Boston Bruins' 12-game winning streak has been something to behold, something to be appreciated since stretches like this don’t come around very often.

It’s almost like a rare work of hockey art, where everything is coming together perfectly. The Bruins are mixing dominant blowout wins with grinding victories, like the come-from-behind effort against the Coyotes last weekend. It’s certainly been more Puck Picasso than Black and Golden retrievers playing poker around a card table.

Matching the Bobby Orr Bruins in any category is a modern team's version of chasing greatness, but that's what the contemporary B's have done. The franchise hasn't won this many games in a row in more than 40 years.

“It feels good to win all different kinds of games,” said Jarome Iginla. “It feels really good as a team. We try to go into each game with the same approach knowing that every team we play is trying to end [the streak]. We know how it is to be on the other side of it, too.”

With 11 games remaining in the regular season and coming off a perfect six-point road trip out West, the Bruins can seemingly do no wrong right now. Still, the winning streak will have to end at some point before the playoffs begin. Heavy travel, a dense thicket of games within just a few days and the desperation of opposing teams are all conspiring against Boston.

When the B's suit up against the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night at TD Garden, it will be their fifth game in the last eight days . . . including a trip three time zones away to Phoenix. They'll also be facing a hot Montreal club that's won four of its last five games while battling for its playoff life.

When one factors in the troubles the Bruins have had against the Habs over the last two seasons -- the B’s just ended a five-game losing streak against the Canadiens with their 4-1 win at the Bell Centre two weeks ago -- the prospect of a desperate Montreal team ending Boston’s winning streak isn’t exactly far-flung fantasy.

As high and mighty as the Bruins are right now as the favorite coming out of the Eastern Conference, they still recognize the threat posed by the Canadiens, who have been patiently waiting in Boston for the Bruins since Saturday night.

“[The Canadiens] are still a good team, and they still give us a hard time” said Shawn Thornton. “Just because we had some success against them in the last game doesn’t mean anything going into this one. We don’t really look [at the standings] too often, and we wouldn’t even know about it if it wasn’t brought up by [the media] so often.

“We’ll enjoy the [Phoenix] win until midnight [on Saturday night], and then it’s on to Montreal. We don’t look at what we’ve done in the past. We’re just focusing on the next game, and that’s been a big part of our success over the last five or six years.”

The Bruins are storming into the final three weeks of the regular season with the force of a Zdeno Chara slap shot, and there are few things that can knock them down at this point. But a bitter defeat at the hands of a speedy, skilled, annoying Canadiens team to end their monumental winning streak could be exactly the kind of bad taste Boston hasn’t had in a while, and would set up a second playoff match-up that could be a stumbling block for the Bruins if both teams get there.

The Black and Gold could end all of the Original Six suspense by taking down the Habs one more time on Monday night for the 13th straight win. which would match Bobby Orr’s 1971 Bruins, but something tells you it isn’t going to be that easy, doesn’t it?