The Black and Gold faced off against Patrick Kane and Chicago Blackhawks at the TD Garden on Thursday night and what better way to welcome the reigning Stanley Cup Champions: by dominating them, from start to finish.
Patrice Bergeron put the Bruins on the board just 1:18 into the first period and Claude Julien’s team put the foot on the gas pedal and wouldn’t let up, getting goals from Brad Marchand, Loui Eriksson, and Ryan Spooner to give the Bruins a 4-2 victory over the NHL’s best Blackhawks.
After Thursday’s impressive win and how the team approached the February 29 trade deadline, is it time to consider this Bruins team a Cup contender again?
Before we start scheduling championship parades down Boylston street, let’s consider this: The Blackhawks were playing in the second game of back-to-back road games, having faced a fast, physical team in Detroit Wednesday night.
Chicago looked tired and sluggish, especially as the game progressed.
Like Jimmy Murphy of Dirty Water Sports points out, the Bruins did a great job of pouncing on a vulnerable Blackhawks team and at the end of day, Chicago’s roster still consists of some of the best players in the world, even at 75 percent they are still better then most teams in the NHL.
So was Thursday night’s victory a sign that the Bruins are finally figuring it out as a team — getting a solid game from the offense, defense, and the goaltending or was it another example of how inconsistent this team can be?
I’d say it’s a mix of both.
Just two nights earlier, the Bruins barely beat a bottom dweller in the Calgary Flames, and got embarrassed on their home ice just days earlier, losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-1.
But I do believe this team is starting to click at the right time after winning four of their last five games? Absolutely.
John-Michael Liles showed in Thursday night’s victory that simply having a defenseman who can make transition passes in the neutral zone — as well as completes his breakout passes — makes a huge difference. So does adding Lee Stempniak — who added two assists against Chicago — to play alongside Bergeron and Marchand.
The emergence of Marchand has helped the team tremendously as No. 63 has solidified himself as one of the top wingers in the entire National Hockey League. Marchand, who scored goal No. 33 on the season on Thursday night has put himself third in the NHL in scoring behind only Alexander Ovechkin and Kane.
Pretty nice class to be in, eh?
The Bruins have a tough road ahead, with the toughest schedule in the entire NHL for the rest of the season, no game will come easy for the Bruins playing some of the NHL’s best.
But if Thursday night proved anything to us, is that when this team wants to, they can skate with this best of them.
But they don’t always want to..
(Image Via @NHLBruins)