Bruins Can All of the Sudden Find Plenty of Positives in Play With Playoffs Just Around the Corner


March 28, 2012

Bruins Can All of the Sudden Find Plenty of Positives in Play With Playoffs Just Around the CornerOn Dec. 28, Dennis Seidenberg beat Jason LaBarbera on a fluky goal in overtime out in Phoenix. The overtime winner helped the Bruins overcome a somewhat pedestrian effort to escape the desert with a 2-1 victory, running their winning streak to seven games.

That was the last time the Bruins had a winning streak of more than two games. Until Tuesday night, that is.

The Bruins beat the Lightning 5-2 on Tuesday at TD Garden, and they're now winners of three in a row for the first time since way back in 2011. That was exactly three months ago Wednesday, but at times, it felt like even longer.

The B's have been mediocre at best since then, but there have been some positive signs as of late. It's no surprise those coincide with the three-game win streak.

Those improvements could not have come at a better time, either, as the Bruins now have just six games left before the playoffs. 

Without further ado, here's a few things Bruins fans can feel good about with the playoffs just around the corner:

Dennis Seidenberg and Zdeno Chara are back together

It should come as no surprise that the Bruins' strong play as of late has been spearheaded by improved defensive play. It also should come as no surprise that their improved defensive play coincided with Claude Julien's decision to pair Dennis Seidenberg and Zdeno Chara together again on the blue line. Julien did the same thing after Game 2 of the Montreal series last year, and we know how that turned out. In fact, the Bruins are now 21-8 and giving up fewer than two goals a game between last year's playoffs and the handful of games Chara and Seidenberg have been paired together this year. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that…

Tim Thomas and Marty Turco are no longer slumping

As recently as two weeks ago, the Bruins' goaltending situation was a bit of a mess. Tim Thomas was playing uncharacteristically poor, and Marty Turco, brought in to provide backup help in the wake of Tuukka Rask's injury, was doing no better. That stretch, however, appears to behind the Bruins' netminders, as they've started to come alive. The improved defensive play (again, helped along by the Chara/Seidenberg D pair and the benching of Joe Corvo) is certainly making life easier for Thomas and Turco, as they're both seeing fewer shots and, just as importantly, fewer quality shots. Give them credit, too, though — they're making the stops. Sunday night in Anaheim, Turco was by far the best he's been since coming to Boston, and that may mean he'll see a few more starts before season's end to spell Thomas. That, of course, will be helped along by…

The Senators no longer appear to be much of a challenge to the Bruins' top spot in the Northeast Division

The Ottawa Senators woke up March 17 and found themselves alone in first place in the Northeast Division. That lasted only a few hours, though, as the B's beat the Flyers in a St. Patrick's Day matinee to regain first and haven't looked back. The Sens have gone 2-3 since, and they don't play again until Saturday. When they drop the puck against Philadelphia then, they'll be at best five points behind the B's, and they could be as many as seven back as Boston gets the scuffling Capitals on Thursday at the Garden. That kind of breathing room will certainly be welcomed for a Bruins team that probably wouldn't mind at least a little bit of rest in the season's final week.

Rich Peverley is back, and he looks pretty good

It sure sounds like the Bruins are going to have to get used to the thought of entering the playoffs without Nathan Horton, but they welcomed back Rich Peverley this past weekend out west. Already, we're seeing the type of impact he can have on this team. Peverley's speed has been on display, particularly Tuesday against Tampa, and that's no small feat considering he suffered a pretty nasty-looking knee injury just five weeks ago. The Bruins' power play, which just isn't seeing results right now (4-for-35 in March), should get a spark from Peverley's return, too. The unit at least looked better with him out there Tuesday, despite an 0-for-5 showing, and this next week will be big in getting that clicking again.

Benoit Pouliot, Chris Kelly and Brian Rolston have something good going on

The Bruins' best line in the last week or so has been the line of Benoit Pouliot, Chris Kelly and Brian Rolston. Kelly has been one of the most underrated players all year, and his steady play between these streaky wingers is paying dividends. Rolston was nonexistent in his first couple of weeks back in Boston, but he's on fire right now. He extended his point streak to seven games Tuesday night, and he's got 12 points over that time (a 5-2 stretch for Boston). Pouliot, on the other hand, continues to show a knack for scoring big goals. He's got 4-4-8 totals in the last seven games, and he may be ready to take on the role Michael Ryder played of the talented yet inconsistent forward who scores a couple of big goals when you need them most.

The Bear and the Gang

This isn't really helping the Bruins in their on-ice play per se, but it's funny, so what the heck?

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