Boston leads the league in goals with 3.47 per game (a .49 increase from last season) and they are also at the top with a 1.87 goals against average. Even beyond the impressive numbers, the team continues to pull out tough wins, as evident in Tuesday’s 2-1 overtime win over the Phoenix Coyotes.
But the expectations are set so high for the Black & Gold, that some might call Wednesday's win "a bad night" for the Bruins and while the victory in Arizona wasn’t the B's impressive 8-0 win over the Southeast Division-leading Florida Panthers, the Bruins (24-9-1) found a way to win, and that’s all that matters to Head Coach Claude Julien.
“We got to be careful we don’t get caught up in all the hoopla that is going around our team,” Julien said after Thursday's practice in Glendale, AZ. “If we don’t dominate totally in a game, all of a sudden it’s like, ‘Oh they didn’t play really well.’
"I don’t think we played such a bad game, any more than [Phoenix] played a real good game against us."
As per usual for the defending Stanley Cup champions, Phoenix, perhaps buoyed by a sold out rink, played their best against Boston.
“They had a guy on every player so for us to move the puck, we couldn’t hang on to it very long so we had to chip it and get some support,” added Julien. "What it made for was a bit of an ugly game.”
But fueling the Bruins right now is the dominant goaltending duo of Tuukka Rask
and Tim Thomas
who (as of Friday) are top in the league with .945 .943 save percentages, respectively.
However, the most telling story of the 2011 Bruins could be the consistent production they’re getting from all four lines.
The B’s score the most goals per game in the league, but not one skater is in the top 30 for points scored. The closest is Tyler Seguin
, who sits at 33rd with 31 points (off 14 goals and 17 assists).
“That just proves we have good balance and it’s all about team,” Julien said. “I don’t think we expect anybody to be a superstar player that dazzles everybody one-on-one.
"What we expect is guys to use their strengths and take pucks to the net and use their shots and their abilities to make things happen.
"Every night someone seems to step up and do the job and that’s the beauty of our team right now.”
On Saturday, the Bruins will take on the Dallas Stars and look to pick up their eighth straight win and while the eyes of the world will be on the ball dropping at midnight, at 8 p.m., the hockey world will have its eyes on the Bruins.
“It’s almost like we not allowed to lose right now,” Julien said. “But what we have to do is try and go out and be the best team every night and find ways to win and that’s what were doing lately.”