GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

May 23, 2013

All-in with this Bruins team

On Hockey
Bill Burt

---- — The miracle happened ten days ago when your Boston Bruins scored four goals in less than 17 minutes.

What has happened since those four goals in 16:47 in Game 7 against Toronto is what most of us expected back in January when the lockout ended.

We expected the Bruins to play like the Bruins.

It’s hard to gauge how much of what has happened since the turnaround against Toronto — the B’s have outscored the opposition 14-5 since then. It might be a testament to how poorly the New York Rangers have played, but the Bruins deserve their props.

They are playing as a team as they showed again with Tuesday night’s comeback 2-1 win in New York. They are playing hard. They are taking advantage of mistakes. They are getting very good goaltending. They are tough.

Heck, they are looking a lot like the team that owned this region of the country two years ago.

While head coach Claude Julien’s job appeared to be hanging by a thread not too long ago, what we’re seeing right now is the kind of hockey that wins ... or make that competes for a Stanley Cup.

Winning in May and June means you accept blood and stitches as collateral damage. More Bruins were bloodied and stitched up without missing a shift.

Why didn’t the Bruins look like this for most of the lockout-shortened season? Well, it was a lot of games — 48 in about 100 days — and nobody remembers where you finished in final regular season standings. Unless, of course, your team missed the playoffs.

The Jekyll-Hyde Bruins (that is Julien’s description, not mine) came to play and then, for some unspoken reason, took a break in the action.

It was frustrating to follow. If they gave out trophies for blowing third period leads, Bruins would have been champs in the regular season.

It’s time to go all-in with this team, the core of which gets it.

The influx of a few kids, defensemen Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton, has been a blessing. Krug and Bartkowski don’t seem to follow the Julien method of playing it safe. They take chances, thanks to some bursts of youthful speed, and a lot of good things have happened.

Who knows if the Bruins will close out the Rangers tonight. Conventional wisdom says “probably.”

But win or lose tonight, this team is ready to make a run and give us an early summer present.

More playoff hockey. Maybe lots more playoff hockey.

I can’t wait.