The Boston Bruins are 12-3 in their last 15 games. You read that right. 12-3. No one, I repeat, no one thought that would be their record particularly considering two long road trips through California and western Canada and with notable shortcomings on defense and in the bottom six. Even the biggest Bruins optimist (guilty) didn’t think the coaching change would generate these results.
But there is no doubt that the Bruins are a different team since Bruce Cassidy took over. Winning games they shouldn’t (Philly). Having really good 3rd periods when in the past they didn’t show any urgency (Calgary last night, Monday in Vancouver) and hammering teams they should hammer (Detroit last week). It’s fair to say the Bruins would not have been 12-3 in the last 15 under Claude Julien. For further evidence, look at the Canadiens over the past 15 games:
–4 OT or Shootout wins
–26 goals for, 26 goals against
In other words, entirely … meh. Just like the Bruins were under Julien.
In March, the Bruins are 5-2 with 25 goals for and only 15 against. Now, they’re still only 5 points clear of a playoff spot with big games to still come against Toronto, Ottawa (twice), Tampa and the Islanders. But are you as worried about them being ready to play in “big” games as you were a year ago? Two months ago? They’re more ready to play now, plain and simple, and it shows.
Now, it helps that Brad Marchand is out of his mind right now. But they’re also getting contributions from David Krejci, David Backes, Drew Stafford, and others to support Pastrnak, Marchand and Bergeron at the top. And the D, while still not top notch, has more than held their own.
So, while still not a Stanley Cup team, the Bruins are trending in the right direction. And if the matchups work out come playoff time, meaning they stay in the Atlantic, they could at least make it to the 2nd round, perhaps further.
And that’s not something we were even remotely thinking 15 games ago.