ANAHEIM, Calif. - There's an air of confidence around the Bruins right now.
It's noticeable in their demeanor, in their play, and in their results.
After a 2-1 overtime win in San Jose on Sunday night, the Bruins put themselves on a four-game winning streak that extends back to three straight wins before the bye week - 6-3 over San Jose, 4-3 over Vancouver, and 4-0 over Montreal.
A string of victories, refreshed legs, and renewed minds have them in a different mood.
"It's amazing what happens when you're in a good frame of mind," said Interim Head Coach Bruce Cassidy. "And you can push the pace up even higher."
Since Cassidy took over behind the bench, the B's schedule has granted them a slew of high intensity practice days and plenty of time to relax with five days off for the bye week.
After the win over the Sharks, the Bruins get two practice days in Anaheim on Monday and Tuesday before facing the Ducks on Wednesday night and then playing back-to-back in Los Angeles on Thursday night. The B's then have two days in Dallas before finishing their four-game road trip on Sunday.
"We had a good practice - we needed to with the time off," Cassidy said of Monday's skate at the Honda Center. "And then [on Tuesday], we'll focus on a couple areas I thought we could be better at, returning to our own end and sorting out some rushes - every team's good off the rush, we've got to make sure we're going to be a team that closes quickly, and we'll communicate some of that."
"When you're winning, the guys don't mind practicing."
Though the team was a little sluggish and rusty at times on Sunday night in San Jose, they continued their more aggressive style and pulled out a 2-1 OT win.
A rejuvenated Ryan Spooner connected with linemates Jimmy Hayes and Frank Vatrano to score the game's first goal, before Brad Marchand scored the winner after a set place off the draw with Patrice Bergeron and Torey Krug during 3-on-3 overtime.
"[Confidence] is obviously pretty high," said Vatrano. "We're coming off a win and we've got a good winning streak right now, so I think we just need to keep paying attention to the things we're doing well and we'll keep having a happy locker room. So if we keep playing aggressive like we've been doing, we'll be good."
Cassidy has noticed the confidence in the group.
"I see a little more hop in their step, simply because, like you said, when you win, people are happy," said Cassidy. "We've scored a few more goals and I think every player likes to score, so I think those are their two biggest determining factors."
"They got their break, too, and the guys get refreshed mentally and physically, so that certainly helped the last couple of days. So again, every team, like you said, has your ups and downs, so when you're up, you tend to be a little more enthusiastic coming to the rink, and when things don't go well, everybody gets a little more guarded."
"So I guess that's the easiest way I could put it. I hope they're happier, and excited to come to the rink and excited to play, because that bodes well for us."
Practice Line and Defense Pairings 2/20
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Backes
Peter Cehlarik/Austin Czarnik-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
Frank Vatrano-Ryan Spooner-Jimmy Hayes
Tim Schaller/Matt Beleskey-Dominic Moore-Riley Nash
Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Kevan Miller-Colin Miller
Joe Morrow-John-Michael Liles
Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Anton Khudobin