TAMPA, FL – The Bruins are starting to see a little daylight after struggling at times through the first 10 games of the season.
After battling the Tampa Bay Lightning to a solid 4-3 shootout win on Thursday night that made them a perfect 3-for-3 on the road swing through Detroit, Florida and Tampa, the Bruins have won three games in a row for the first time season. They did it while beginning to get some contributions against the Lightning from slow starters like Ryan Spooner, Torey Krug and Jimmy Hayes, and even more importantly getting the first vintage performance of the season from Patrice Bergeron after battling through a lower body injury the early going.
Bruins 4, Lightning 3
- Hayes' shootout score gives Bruins 4-3 victory over Lightning
- Highlights: Boston Bruins 4, Tampa Bay Lightning 3 (SO)
- Talking Points: Bergeron has best game of the season
- Hayes: Good to keep climbing the standings
But above and beyond all of that stuff the three-game win streak also coincided with Tuukka Rask returning to good health, and improving his record to a perfect 6-0-0 where the Finnish netminder has all six of Boston’s victories this season. The number of wins are plainly obvious by simply looking at the won-loss ledger, but Claude Julien said he can see his hockey club’s game improving while getting tighter and better as things are coming together.
Certainly the play at both ends of the ice was well-rounded for the Bruins on Thursday night in Tampa without any glaring weaknesses sticking out win, lose or draw.
“Since Tuukka has come back, our overall game has gotten better. We’re getting good goaltending, and we’re getting better as a team. We’re playing harder and we’re playing smarter, and those kinds of things are good,” said Julien. “Our power play was more like the power play we’re used to seeing, and that was a nice thing to have. We’ll continue to battle. It might not always look pretty, but our guys are competitors, they’re battlers and they respect what we’re trying to do.”
It may be some time before the style points come around for the Bruins, and they simply don’t have the depth of talent at this point to handily steamroll teams even when they’re playing at their highest levels of execution. But a win is a win particularly against an elite team in the Eastern Conference like Tampa Bay. Now the Bruins are now far removed from what looked like a potentially precipitous drop just a couple of weeks ago as the team scrambled for replacement-level goaltending.