The last time Boston tasted defeat in regulation time came back on December 14thwhen they were edged 5-3 at home by the Washington Capitals. In the meantime, they’ve outscored their opponents to the tune of 64-19 during their 16-game streak. Team-wise, the Bruins have the eighth-best power play in the league (21.1%), the sixth-best penalty killing (83.5%), the fifth-most goals per game (3.27) and the second-ranked goals-against average at 2.44 goals-per-game. However, while it’s been a total team effort, there’s no denying the club has been led by the red-hot line of David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.
They’ve been getting good secondary-scoring support from Ryan Spooner, David Backes, David Krejci and Danton Heinen while Torey Krug and Charlie McAvoy have been providing offence from the blue line. Boston has quite a bit of depth and this enables head coach Bruce Cassidy to roll four solid and effective forward lines each and every game without worrying about matching lines against the opposition on a regular basis. The play of goaltenders Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin has been solid if not spectacular and 40-year-old veteran defenceman and team captain Zdeno Chara has been exceptional at killing penalties and is still playing well over 20 minutes a game.
The line’s 200-foot success may have taken some fans by surprise considering that Marchand was the only one of the trio to be sitting in the league’s top-25 scorers by Jan. 21st. He had 48 points from 20 goals and 28 assists in 37 games which saw him ranked 17th in the scoring race. But the driving force behind this team may very well be Bergeron with his timely goals and overall veteran leadership qualities. He’s been as reliable as ever in both ends of the rink and could very well become the first NHL player to win four Frank Selke Trophies as the league’s top defensive forward. He’s currently tied with former Montreal Canadiens great and Hall of Famer Bob Gainey at four apiece.
With an 18-point lead over the fourth-place team in their division, the current streak has basically wrapped up a playoff spot for the Bruins unless they totally collapse in their final 37 games. They might as well shoot for the moon now though as first place in the league is well withing their grasp.