BOSTON — The Boston Bruins went into Saturday’s game on a clear mission. The objective was to get one more win before the two-week Olympic break. The fact that the Ottawa Senators were apparently already on their vacation made it that much easier for the B’s.
The Bruins took full advantage of a Sens team that slept-walked its way through a 7-2 dump-trucking from the Black and Gold. This was a professional beatdown, and with the win, the Bruins head into the league-wide break as one of the league’s hottest teams. Boston went 8-1-2 in its final 11 games before breaking for the Winter Games, and they now hold commanding possession of first place in the Atlantic Division.
It was all more than enough to make Bruins head coach Claude Julien a very happy man.
“I was pretty impressed with our whole approach to this game where there could have been a lot of distractions and everything else,” Julien said. “Our guys just played so well today. The puck was moving well and good decisions all around so it was just a real solid game for us and a great way to finish.”
The Bruins’ win on Saturday against the hapless Senators was never in doubt. The B’s took full advantage of a Senators team that looked like it would rather be sipping pina coladas on the beach than playing the Bruins. The B’s jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period and never looked back. That’s become a trend this season, as you might imagine. Boston is now 28-2-0 when holding a lead of at least two goals this season, and they’re 104-8-6 since the beginning of the 2010-11 season when holding at least a two-goal cushion.
The two-goal lead was nothing but a memory by the time the final buzzer had sounded. The seven-goal outburst was the Bruins’ biggest of the season, as six different Bruins found the back of the net. Seven different Bruins had at least two points while Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand each notched three points. Boston attempted 69 shots to just 43 from the Senators. Really, you could just keep listing stats all day, and they’re all going to say the Senators had no business sharing the ice with the Bruins on Saturday.
“I just think the way that we stick to the game plan and to the system [has led to recent success],” Bergeron said. “I think we got back to doing that in the last 10 or 11 games before the break. That’s how we get our success when we play to the system, we do the little things right and we take what’s in front of us. Also I think that helps us a lot. I think everyone is chipping in right now and buying in, and that makes a difference.”
Now, the Bruins are heading into the break in an ideal spot. They only have five players heading to Sochi to participate in the Olympics, while the rest of the B’s get to go relax for a couple of weeks before getting back to work. They’ll need to be fresh, too. When the Bruins return, they’ll have one game in the final week of February before flipping the page to March where they will play 17 games in 30 days.
“It just seems that here, no matter whether it’s a compressed schedule or not, the Boston Bruins schedule in March has always been a heavy one,” Julien said. “There always seems to be it varies almost between 15 and 17 games in 30, 31 days. We’ve always been finishing the season that way, so I guess there’s some confidence there. As far as I’m concerned, from my players and also the fact that a lot of those guys have been around. I know them pretty well.”
That can wait for now, though. The Bruins (most of them, at least) now have some time off, and they certainly earned it in the last few weeks.