BOSTON – The Bruins continued their winning ways with a solid 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden on Wednesday that marked their season-high fifth win in a row. It was a game where the defense held strong to just a single goal allowed while keeping the Senators away from the front of the net, and where Tuukka Rask stood up to stop 25 shots including a couple of very good saves in the second period when the B’s defense softened a little bit.
The Bruins also never trailed during the entire 60-minute affair with secondary offense from Kevan Miller on the back end as well as a combined four goals from the B’s third line of Danton Heinen, Riley Nash and David Backes. It was a good example of the way the Bruins have engineered their current winning streak, and how they’ve won 14 of their last 18 games while rocketing up the Atlantic Division over the last six weeks.
With the stretch of winning hockey and the cushion that the Bruins have built up for a playoff spot in those last six weeks, the confident Bruins players are focusing on each and every game rather than getting carried away with their current success level.
“We just…we just need to keep playing the way we have. You know, I think that’s been resulting as wins. You don’t want to get complacent and just satisfied with [the way] things have been lately. I think you want to keep pushing yourself, and that’s what great teams do,” said Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, who is 8-1-1 during the month of December after being named the NHL’s No. 1 Star for the month. “They always, they don’t take anything for granted. They always push each other, and I think that something, you know, to put some wins together we have to, you know, show that, show everybody that we’re capable of keeping that up for the rest of the season.”
With good health and quality play over the last couple of months, the Bruins continue to raise their profile in the Eastern Conference this season as they ascend in the standings. At a certain time it becomes about more than a potential winning streak during the regular season, and morphs into a confident, well-rounded hockey team that’s poised to make some noise in a weaker Atlantic Division with teams like Ottawa, Florida and Buffalo, among others, struggling to put together a consistently competitive team on the ice this season.
“We know we have a good hockey team. We have good players, and you know, if we play a certain way in our strength, then we are an effective team. It’s something that you can be looking at the record, but I think that, you know, we want to look at every game as a challenge and motivation,” said Zdeno Chara. “Every opponent is a tough team to play against. There are no easy wins, and so we’ve just got to keep going. You know, it’s easy to get, you know, comfortable or complacent. You know, it’s just, it’s hard to gain that confidence and that kind of, you know, strong play every game we play and easy to lose it, so always we want to stay on top of that.”
Clearly the Bruins will need to keep vigilant against comfort or complacency for as long as their extended winning ways continue, but they’ve also done a good job of building up into a playoff hopeful while playing committed, two-way hockey on a regular basis. It’s the formula for Boston’s good NHL fortunes and the work ethic at the very heart of the Black and Gold success story that doesn’t appear headed for a slump anytime soon.