GLENDALE, AZ – It wasn’t easy, but perhaps that was a good thing for the Boston Bruins with so many good things falling for them lately.
The Bruins, in a game for the first time in more than 20 periods of hockey, and had to battle from behind in the third period on the second night of a back-to-back situation, but prevailed with three unanswered goals in the third period for a 4-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena.
The win extended Boston’s NHL-leading 12-game winning streak, and gave them the franchise’s best win streak since a 13-game winning stretch for the Bobby Orr Era Bruins from Feb. 23 - March 20, 1971.
This current winning stretch marks the third longest winning streak in the 90-year history of the Original Six franchise.
It also improved the Bruins to an amazing 12-2 in the second game of back-to-backs this season, and has seen them outscore opponents in the third period by a 92-48 margin this season.
Just don’t expect the Bruins to get cocky about it…even from the fourth line guy that scored the game-winning goal.
“You’ll probably hear it a bunch in here, but that was a pretty good win. Guys did a really good job of battling back,” said Shawn Thornton. “It seemed like everyone was going, Tuukka [Rask] played great and kept us in it, and we just kept chipping away and chipping away.
“We talked between the second and the third about not getting too discouraged because we felt things were going in the right direction. We’re a fairly good team in the third [period], and we had to prove it again. I thought the guys did a good job.”
It wasn’t a sleepy affair against the Coyotes by any means, either.
Milan Lucic got leveled by Lauri Korpikoski in the second period in a hit that kind of woke the B’s power forward up, and Jarome Iginla had a long, extended shouting match with Oliver Ekman-Larsson after the Swedish defenseman finished a big hit on the B’s right winger against the side boards.
In all Ekman-Larson threw out a game-high seven hits, and was an impressive physical presence throughout the game.
The Coyotes were pretty clearly hitting the Bruins with everything they had early, and also trying to wear down what they assumed was a tired team with some physicality.
Claude Julien thought that might have been the perfect thing for a team going for their 12th straight win after clinching a playoff berth, and continuing to run away with the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference.
“We all look for those kinds of games right now. We’re not looking for the easy games,” said Claude Julien. “We want to get better as a team. These kinds of games allow us to do that because I think this game showed a lot of our character.
“We needed to show character in the third period to win it, and we did that. We did all the right things, and we were determined to win. It really showed.”
It seems that hot goaltenders, tired legs through traveling multiple time zones and getting the raw end of penalty calls have all failed to derail the Bruins during this epic winning streak. So it will be interesting to see what leads to its ultimate demise, but for now the Bruins are just enjoying a historic ride through an unbelievably good month of March.