BOSTON -- The month of October is beginning to feel like a long time ago for the Boston Bruins, who are hurdling confidently into what they once were and what they could be again.
The Bs evened off their won-loss ledger at 7-7 by collecting their seventh win of the season Thursday night at TD Garden, 6-3 over the young, exciting Edmonton Oilers.
In stringing together another solid home win, the Bs have issueda statement: They're back in it for the long haul again this season, and are more determined than ever after looking a little punch-drunk in October.
Maybe its a little different than it was last month. I think guys have found their way now and know how to get back to business, said Tyler Seguin, who has enjoyed grand moments as Bostons leading scorer through 14 games.
After struggling to finish off their offensive chances during the first 10 games of the season, the Bs have outscored their opponents 24-8 during four games in the month of November. They've thoroughly humbled the Maple Leafs, Senators, Islanders and Oilers over the last two weeks, averaging six goals per game.
Whileit's true thatnone of those four were playoffmaterial last season, three of them all but the Islanders were playing their best hockey of the season headed into their games with Boston.The Black and Gold have simply upped their performance and displayed a different kind of urgency during a time of year (November) when playoff berths can't be clinched, but can certainly be lost.The defense has tightened up around coach Claude Juliens system, the offense is flowing with productivity and points, and the special teams have finally loosened up at both ends of the rink.
In other words: The good times are rolling for the Black and Gold, who onceagain resemble the team that took the NHL by storm last spring on its way to the Stanley Cup.For players that weren't here last season, the confidence flowing through the lineup feels pretty damned good.
You just have that feeling going into the game . . . like we didnt have before, said defenseman Joe Corvo, acquired in the offseason from Carolina. It just feels like were going to win the game and it just depends on by how many. Thats just the feel thats just how I feel and I think the team feels going into the game. When youre playing well like that it makes it fun.
Corvo has a plus-7 in his last three games, has piled up four assists and helped engineer a pair of power-play goals Thursday nightin the role he was custom made for when he arrived in Boston.Brad Marchand is scoring goals again, mixing things up before and after whistles, and even finding thetime to dump Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk on his backside after Dubnyk attempted to play a loose puck within the trapezoid. That's vintage Marchand.Milan Lucic has six goals in his last five games, and destroyed both Jeff Petry and Theo Peckham with bone-rattling body checks in theunique mixtures of brawn and skill that only No. 17 can provide.
Seguin came alive in the second period with a pair of points (outscoring fellow second-year prodigyTaylor Hall, who had an assist for Edmonton_ and remains on pace for a gaudy50 goals and nearly 100 points this season.
Even rookie forwards like Jordan Caron and Zach Hamill are flourishing and connecting on scoring plays like the textbook Hamill-to-Caron connection in the first period that gave the B's a little secondary scoring.
So whats with the 4-0 record in November thats allowed the Bruins to pull even with the Montreal Canadiens in the Northeast Division standingswith 14 points? Well, funny you should ask.
Its actually all about the Canadiens, and the wince-inducinghome-and-home losses to the Habs that closed out the month of October for the Bruins. Nobody in the Bs dressing room is talking about what was said in the aftermath of the Saturday night loss on Oct. 29 at the Bell Centre -- or who it was said by --but they knew changes were on the horizon if fortunes didnt turn immediately after a 3-7 start.
The10-game Stanley Cup hangover opened up all kinds of speculation and trade possibilities. General manager Peter Chiarelli was in the delicate state between showing loyalty to a Cup-winning nucleus, and feeling like a cattle prod was needed to wake up his sleeping bunch.Marchand and the rest of the Bruins wanted another crack at the Cup with the returning cast of characters, and that really wouldnt have beenpossible if they begin wheeling players away to other teams in a panic-type move.
We felt a lot of heat, obviously, with the start we had," said Marchand. "We knew that something might happen if we didnt turn things around. We wanted to stay together and we know what were capable of coming off last season with pretty close to the same team.
We didnt want to miss out on another opportunity to make a run, so we did a great job turning the corner. We realized that we had to be better, and hopefully we can continue the streak now.Players like David Krejci, Tuukka Rask and Johnny Boychuk -- and even Lucic, in a fairly unbelievable scenario -- were mentioned as possible sacrificial lambs to shake things up. But the Bruins want their chance to show just how good they can be again this season.It looks like they'll get it just as long as they keep playing like a team befitting the term "Stanley Cup champs" -- and they were most definitely that once again against the Oilers.