The Boston Bruins are one of the hottest teams in hockey.
After a frustrating start, more adversity with COVID-19 forced the team to pause through the holidays, but it has been a blessing for Boston who has looked like an entirely different team in 2022.
“It’s been fun seeing everyone buying in,” Patrice Bergeron said after a 4-2 overtime victory Saturday via Zoom. “You wish for that. It took a little longer than expected but, time off around Christmas time was good for guys and I think you’re seeing that now.”
Boston’s upset over the Nashville Predators marked its fifth straight win. The Bruins have been on the right side of eight of their last nine games, benefitting from balanced scoring and contributions from eager youngsters.
“With the COVID break there we had a little bit of a window where we could ramp back up. I thought our coaches did a great job at getting us back and engaged throughout those couple days,” Bruins right winger Craig Smith said. “But you know, if anybody was in a spot where they weren’t happy with their game I thought that was a good break to kind of reset for everybody and come back.”
Among coaching contributions was Bruce Cassidy switching things up by breaking David Pastrnak off the first line. Smith swapped with Pastrnak to join Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, while the 25-year-old joined Taylor Hall and Erik Haula on the second line.
If Pastrnak and Hall were in slumps, they’ve seen turnarounds in January. Pastrnak has 10 points (eight goals, two assists) this month while Hall has 11 points (three goals, eight assists) — including Saturday’s greasy game-winner.
“We’ve been doing the right things out there on the ice,” Smith said. “I think just a matter of time, we get a couple of bounces. And we got a lot of guys playing really well right now and on all four lines and I think that’s that’s been that’s been huge for us. Especially timing of those.”