Sunrise, FL -- Dennis Wideman wasn’t worried going into Tuesday night’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
In fact, he welcomed the swagger that the club had recovered in the days leading up to the B's trip south.
"I like smiling,” said Wideman a matter of factly. “How can you not be happy?”
He had a point, after all, with a nine point lead in the East and with a twenty point lead on their nearest Northeast Division opponent, the B’s had little to be worried about even before their 5-1 win over the Hurricanes on Tuesday night.
However, Wideman did admit that the four game skid did have the club scratching its collective head.
“We went in to a bad stretch,” said the defenseman. “But…we've been pretty intense here for quite a bit of the season and we've got a young team [with players who] haven't been in first place like this for a long time.
“It's something to learn.”
Wideman explained that a first place team wears a target no matter what.
“You have to learn to be able to stay up here [because] you don't catch a team on an off night when you're up at the top,” he said. “Everyone gets ready to play you, and they want to beat you, so it's something that may be a little more mentally draining through the course of a long season.
“We weren't playing quite as well, and, obviously, we were playing other teams that are playing their best and playing well.
“Looking around the room, I think we've recharged ourselves a little bit, and we feel ready for this road trip here.”
After the game, Wideman was back in his stall and, of course, was still smiling.
“We pushed through…like we used to do,” said the blueliner. “We found a way to score goals and win.
What is really great is the B’s 11-point lead in the Eastern Conference and the club’s 22-point lead in the Northeast Division. In terms of the race for NHL supremacy, Boston still maintains a three-point lead on the San Jose Sharks (although the Sharks maintain three games in-hand).
“I think we just realized we hit a rough spell...but we know we are a good team – we can win hockey games,” said Wideman. “We just have to get back and get that confidence back that everybody had earlier this year.
“Confidence is an important thing [and] as confident as people think hockey players are, some guys are a bit fragile.
“If we get in slumps or we’re not playing well and lose a few games and you can start getting down,” he said.
Wideman believes that the Bruins must overcome those doubts in order to reach the next level.
“Something that we need to do, as a group, is to talk to each other, keep everybody positive and know that we have to keep the confidence level high in our group in order to win,” said Wideman -- with a smile, of course.