The Boston Bruins are making it look easy right now, but anyone with half a hockey brain knows winning in the NHL isn’t that easy.
Every winning streak is impressive because of that simple fact, but the hot streak the Bruins are on right now is something else. They held on for a 4-2 win over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night, pushing their winning streak to 10 games. The B’s also are an incredible 13-1-2 in their last 16 games and 18-2-3 in their last 23.
Quite simply, they’re the hottest team in hockey.
What makes this stretch — and this entire season, really — even more impressive is the circumstances under which the Bruins have found all of this success. They’ve been at their best when facing adversity, which is a mark of a veteran team that knows how to win.
What stands out most lately has been the Bruins’ play on the road. With Tuesday’s win, the B’s have gained at least a point in their last 12 games away from TD Garden. The last time they lost in regulation on the road was all the way back on Jan. 9 in Los Angeles. That 12-game road point streak now is the Bruins’ longest such run since the 1975-76 season, when they went 14 consecutive road games with at least a point.
March also was supposed to be the Bruins’ most difficult month of the season, but they’ve ripped right through the first 11 games of the 17-game stretch. They’re now 10-1-0 in those games, including a 5-0-0 mark in road games.
The jam-packed schedule also has presented the Bruins with a handful of back-to-back sets. This month alone, the B’s have swept three of four back-to-backs. The Bruins actually have been better in the second half of back-to-backs this season than they have in the first half of those sets.
The Bruins also concluded on Tuesday their 12th of 16 instances in which they play three games in four days. They’re now 8-4-0 in the first game, 12-0-0 in the second game and, perhaps most impressively, 8-3-1 in the final game of those sets. That’s remarkable consistency when the schedule is at its toughest, allowing the B’s to open a 16-point lead in the Atlantic Division.
Oh, and the Bruins have done all of this with some injury issues, especially on the blue line. The biggest, of course, was losing Dennis Seidenberg for the rest of the season to a knee injury. In the 31 games since Seidenberg went down Dec. 27, the Bruins are 21-7-3. They’ve also weathered the storm in the wake of injuries to other defensemen such as Dougie Hamilton and recently Johnny Boychuk, which is a testament to the team’s depth and defensive-minded system.
The test is far from over, though. It’s hard to imagine, but the Bruins’ schedule will get even tougher through the rest of the regular season. After two days off, the Bruins will wrap up March with games against five teams (Philadelphia, Montreal, Chicago, Colorado and Phoenix) that are currently holding playoff spots. The other game in that stretch is against a Washington team that entered its game Tuesday just two points out of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
If the Bruins keep this high level of play going, though, that stretch should give them even more chances to stake their claim as the best team in the NHL, if they’re not already there.