BOSTON — A week ago, the Bruins were sitting at a woeful 3-7-0 and had managed just 21 goals in their first 10 games of the season. Questions abounded about the club's ability to consistently produce enough offense.
Seven days, three wins and 18 goals later, things are looking a little different on Causeway Street.
Heck, the goals have come so fast and furious that young phenom Tyler Seguin barely has time to celebrate them anymore. Seguin showed little emotion after he struck for his fourth goal in two games late in the first period of Monday's 6-2 win over the New York Islanders, but insisted he isn't getting any less joy out of scoring as the goals continue to pile up.
"Never gets boring scoring," Seguin said. "I don't really remember my celebration. It was a great pass, didn't have to do too much in that play, kind of just snuck backdoor. So that's why I wasn't super happy."
The Bruins were plenty happy to see the goals come in bunches once again after the early-season struggles. Every line is contributing, with each of the last three games featuring double digit players collecting points. In all, 18 of the 19 skaters who have dressed in that span have earned at least one point. The lone exception was defenseman Adam McQuaid, who found his own way to contribute with a first-period fight that helped spark the club on Monday.
"Three wins, but I think we're definitely playing a lot better hockey and that's how we got our wins," Bruins forward Nathan Horton said. "Every line is contributing. It's just like last year. That's what you need to win. You need all four lines going and that's what it's been so far the last few games."
Horton snapped a five-game goal drought of his own with a pair of tallies on Monday, while also chipping in an assist for a season-high three points after managing just five points in his first 12 games combined.
"We were snakebit there for the start of the season," Bruins center Gregory Campbell said. "Things weren't going our way, but what I liked about our team is we continued to work hard and create those chances. Now we've got the guys that score scoring, and that's always a good thing. We knew the goals were going to come. We could have easily hung our heads and quit, but the big guys, the top guys, the goal-scorers worked hard at it and now their hard work is paying off."
Horton's two goals were each part of two-goal outbursts within a minute of each other, a feat which has become a specialty of the Bruins of late. Saturday in Toronto, they scored two goals eight seconds part, two more in a 14-second span and then another two in 28 seconds.
On Monday, things came at a more leisurely pace, with Seguin needing just 29 seconds to score after Horton's first tally, as the Bruins turned a 1-1 tie into a two-goal lead late in the opening period. Then in the third, Milan Lucic and Horton each scored within 49 seconds to put the game out of reach.
"We just have to keep feeding off our goals," Horton said. "Every line, just keep feeding and building confidence. And once we score, get the next line out there and just keep rolling."
"That's a big thing for us, definitely that shift after a goal," Seguin said. "It's huge and I think Krech's [David Krejci] line did it tonight back-to-back. That's one of the biggest shifts in hockey. So right now we're doing a good job at capitalizing on it."
Bruins coach Claude Julien was joking when he said that those two-goal outbursts were by design, but it's not entirely by accident either. He did confirm that the Bruins place a special emphasis on the shifts right after goals, pressing the attack after scoring or seeking an immediate answer after giving one up.
"I think it's just more about, when we score a goal, we seem to come back the next shift and really, we've always emphasized how important that shift following the goal for or against is," Julien said. "Our guys just have been good at responding when they go back, and they get off to a real good shift. In Toronto, same thing [when we] scored a couple of quick goals. Tonight, same thing. It's just paying attention to little details and what every part of the game means to your hockey club, and our guys are just responding to that right now."
The response was exactly what the Bruins needed after their sluggish start. They still have a lot of ground to make up from their October struggles, as they are still a game under .500 at 6-7-0, but after outscoring their opponents 18-5 over the last three games, the Bruins finally look like a team capable of climbing steadily back up the Eastern Conference standings.