The Bruins continued their dominant stretch last night with a 7-1 throttling of the Carolina Hurricanes. The win pushed the Bruins record to 8-0-2 in their past ten games.
On the season, the team is now tied for second with 52 points on the strength of a 23-10-6 record. They still have 4 games in hand on the Toronto Maple Leafs, so they are in good position to create some room between the two teams should Boston keep up this pace.
The blowout victory moved the Bruins goal differential to a season high +30 which is now the 2nd best mark in the National Hockey League.
Goal differential has held a pretty strong correlation to Stanley Cup championship teams in the past decade with every single cup winner finishing their season in the league’s Top 10 rankings.
Starting with their 6-1 thrashing of the Coyotes back on December 7th, the Bruins have now accumulated six wins of four or more goals in the past month.
They’ve added four of those wins in their past five games which is allowing coach, Bruce Cassidy to give Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy much needed breathers with regards to their ice time. The rest highlighted below could have a profound effect as the team gets deeper into the season.
This holds especially tru for Chara, who’s average 23:15 of ice time per game this season has been cut to fewer than twenty minutes of time on ice, twice in his past five. The 18:10 he tallied against the Senators on December 27th, his his lowest total on the season.
The rookie phenom, Charlie McAvoy logged his lowest total since October 19th with just 18:31 of ice time.
Patrice Bergeron has seen the most ice time differential among the Bruins big minute eaters of late. With 14:18, 14:22, and 12:58 minutes of ice time in his lats three games, Bergeron is really starting to rest his legs and the results have been eye-popping.
Bergeron has now recorded six goals and an assist in his past three games. His four-goal and five-point outburst last night matched a career.
Bergeron’s sixteen goals put him into a three-way tie for the team lead with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. Pastrnak broke a ten game goalless streak of his own last evening.
While it may be very optimistic to think the Bruins top line trio can pick up the goal scoring pace, doing so could put them in rare company.
Marchand is on pace to finish the season with 38 goals. Bergeron’s pace is 36 goals and Pastrnak, who has been know to go on nuclear hot streaks, currently sits at a 33 goal season pace.
The last time the Bruins had two 40 goal scorers in a season was the 1982-83 season when Rick “Nifty” Middleton potted 49 goals while Barry Pederson lit the lamp 46 times. That team came close to adding a third 40 goal scorer but Keith Crowder fell five goals shy after posting a 35 goal campaign.
You’d have to go back to the 1970-71 season to find a Bruins team with three different 40 goal scorers. That year, Phil Esposito notched 76, Johnny Bucyk had 51 and Ken Hodge lit the lamp 43 times.
It’s difficult not to get excited about the fact that we can even ponder this as a possibility.