That one thing, the one thing that has been so important during their incredible start, is, of course, consistency. The Bruins went into Buffalo on Sunday night and picked up a 3-1 win over the Sabres, and in the process, Boston moved to 8-1-1 on the season, good for the best 10-game start in club history.
Sunday’s win by itself doesn’t necessarily reinforce the importance of consistency. It’s the lesson they presumably learned in their last game with Buffalo, a 7-4 loss on Jan. 31. The Bruins showed crushing lapses in consistency in that game and the Sabres hurt them.
The Bruins were awful in their own end, with Claude Julien labeling the defensive effort as “brain-dead.” It was a smack in the face, and a reminder that consistency is the key to success in the NHL, especially when you’re dealing with a shortened season.
Boston showed improvements across the board Sunday night in Buffalo. They were much better in their own end, playing a much more familiar brand of defensive hockey. The result, of course, was another two points.
“We talked about the game versus Buffalo where we didn’t play well defensively, and that took away from our consistency so far but everything else has been pretty good,” Julien said. “You look around the league and there seem to be a lot of ups and downs with all of the different teams, but so far I like the consistency of our hockey club and hopefully that keeps happening.”
It wasn’t necessarily easy for Boston on Sunday night, though. The Bruins dominated play, but they had little to show for it. Ryan Miller was back his elite ways, and looked primed to steal a win for the Sabres. Another stalled Bruins power play in the second period led directly to a Tyler Ennis goal that tied the game 1-1 after two periods.
However, the Bruins dug deep, yet again, as they’ve been known to do this season. In fact, they even got the go-ahead goal on a power-play goal. It was a fitting reward for a team that stuck to its system — sometimes seemingly to a fault.
“We stayed composed and did the little things that gave us success like battling and getting the puck on the forecheck and establishing some net-front presence and putting the puck on net and we found a way,” Patrice Bergeron said.
He, too, also preached the importance of consistency and sticking with it.
“I like our battling and the way we compete and stay composed,” Bergeron added. “It doesn’t matter if we’re down a goal or not having our best start, we find a way to get a victory. Our character has been huge through the first 10 games.”
It certainly has, and the Bruins won’t have to wait long to put that character on display again. The New York Rangers come to Boston on Tuesday, and once again, the Bruins will be looking for revenge. This time, it will be an attempt to avenge a Jan. 23 overtime loss in New York. The Bruins put themselves in trouble that night with an ugly start to the game, a start that ended up doing them when it was all said and done.
If their win in Buffalo on Sunday proved anything, though, it’s that the Bruins are more than capable of learning from their mistakes. After all, that’s one of the biggest keys in becoming a consistent hockey team and maintaining that level of consistency.
That’s the only way you get out to the best 10-game start in the history of one of the game’s most accomplished franchises.