The Boston Bruins are in the midst of their most impressive scoring stretch of the season as the Olympic break approaches, and one player at the heart of this offensive resurgence is veteran winger Jarome Iginla.
The 36-year-old forward scored his 16th goal of the season in Tuesday’s 3-1 victory over the rival Vancouver Canucks at TD Garden. He’s now four goals away from the 15th 20-goal season of his Hall of Fame career.
“I think as a team we’re playing well,” Iginla told reporters after Tuesday’s win. “We’re playing with the puck a lot more as a group, we’re creating a lot more zone time and scoring chances, and guys are feeling good. I think also as a team we’re creating a lot more for each other and playing a lot more with the pucks, and we’ve been in a pretty solid stretch up until this Olympic break here.”
As a player known for turning it on in the second half of the season, Iginla’s consistent scoring production is an encouraging sign for a Bruins team that will be in a fight for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs with the Pittsburgh Penguins after the Olympics.
The Bruins are difficult to beat when Iginla plays well and gets on the score sheet. Boston is 9-4 when Iginla scores a goal and 22-6 when he tallies at least a point. Iginla has 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in his last eight games, but most importantly, he’s starting to become a more consistent player as he develops chemistry with linemates David Krejci and Milan Lucic.
The trio combined to set up the Bruins’ first goal against the Canucks on Tuesday night. Iginla drove hard to the net as he entered the attacking zone, which opened up a lot of room for Krejci to find Lucic, who fired a shot past Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo.
Iginla picked up the 600th assist of his career on the play, becoming the eighth active player to reach that mark. His 1,146 career points ranks fourth among active players.
After spending more than 15 years with the Calgary Flames and a half season with the Penguins, Iginla has made a seamless transition to a Bruins team that fits his style of play perfectly. Iginla’s desire to win his first Stanley Cup will inject a lot of energy into the Bruins when the sprint toward the playoffs begins after Sochi.
“I’m just thankful to keep playing as long as I have,” Iginla said. “I’m having a great time, and it’s awesome to be here with these guys.”