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Stanley Cup Final

Bruins clicking on all cylinders in Stanley Cup Final

Have won eight straight heading into Game 2 against Blues

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

BOSTON -- Some of the Boston Bruins players are so dialed into the here and now, focused on what's in front of them in the Stanley Cup Final, that they didn't even realize their winning streak is now a season-long eight games.

"We obviously know we won four in a row against Carolina, but you don't think about winning the last two against Columbus," defenseman Torey Krug said. "Or, did we win three in a row? See, I don't even know. We just try to live in the moment and whatever is in front of us we attack that moment. That's the sign of a good team and I guess how streaks are made."

The streak began on May 2 with a 4-1 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Second Round. Boston, which won seven straight games from Feb. 9-20, part of a stretch in which they went 19 games without a regulation loss (15-0-4), can close out the month of May without a loss and extend its streak to nine wins in Game 2 against the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

 

[RELATED: Complete Cup Final series coverage]

 

Boston won Game 1, 4-2 on Monday, to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.

The streak has featured blown leads followed by late game-winning goals, dominant performances, elite goaltending and multi-goal comebacks, including in Game 1 against the Blues, who had a 2-0 lead one minute into the second period.

There are several common threads that have carried throughout the streak, enough to prove that none of the wins are flukey and to give the Bruins the confidence that they can keep winning.

"I think just not even realizing we're on a streak like that, to be honest, that's a big part of it," Krug said. "It's the swagger, the confidence to continue to play our game, knowing we're always in it and we can step on the other team's throats when necessary."

Video: Breaking down Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final

That mentality is born out of team defense, the biggest factor in the winning streak, according to coach Bruce Cassidy.

"Once we've gotten the lead we've played the right way, played winning hockey," Cassidy said.

The Bruins scored the first goal in seven straight games before allowing the first two Monday.

They have trailed for 38:25 in the eight games, including 25:17 in Game 1 against the Blues. They trailed for 13:08 in the four games against Carolina and never in the last three against Columbus.

The Bruins have allowed 11 goals in the eight games, only one when shorthanded. They're 25-for-26 on the penalty kill (96.2 percent).

They have also started in the offensive zone 56.22 percent of the time at 5-on-5 and have won 56.6 percent of all offensive zone face-offs, meaning they're controlling the puck.

On top of it all, they've limited odd-man rushes against by disrupting breakouts and squeezing the middle, forcing the opposition to go wide. It's allowed goalie Tuukka Rask to have easier nights.

"We're skating and then everybody is reading off each other and pursuing the puck," Rask said. "That's our system. You always want to have layers and making it difficult for the other team to make plays or passes through the neutral zone to gain that space. Everything is working in sync."

Video: STL@BOS, Gm1: Rask denies Blues in final seconds

Offensively, the streak has featured four goals-per game and a power play that is clicking at 34.5 percent (10-for-29).

It's been all hands on deck too, with the Bruins getting at least a point from 20 of the 21 skaters who have played during the streak. The only one without a point is defenseman John Moore, who played Game 4 against Carolina because captain Zdeno Chara was injured.

Steven Kampfer replaced suspended defenseman Charlie McAvoy for Game 1 against Carolina and scored the first goal.

Fifteen players have scored at least one goal, and six have game-winning goals.

It was Boston's fourth line of Sean Kuraly, Noel Acciari and Joakim Nordstrom in on two goals in Game 1 against the Blues. The top line of Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand had each goal in a 4-0 series-clinching win in Game 4 against Carolina.

Boston has gotten six goals from defensemen during the streak, including two in Game 1 (Connor Clifton, Charlie McAvoy). Krug has a team-high seven assists.

"The biggest thing is we have a complete effort from our whole group," Marchand said. "You see [Monday] night, [Kuraly's] line was unreal and really won that game for us. … We just have all the depth showing up right now and we're able to rely on different guys every night. If you want to go far in playoffs that's what you need."

And goaltending.

Rask has been spectacular with a .956 save percentage (238 saves on 249 shots), a 1.38 goals-against average and shutouts in clinching games against the Blue Jackets and Hurricanes during the winning streak.

He was the biggest difference in a 3-0 win in Game 6 against Columbus (39 saves, including 17 in the second period) and in a 2-1 win in Game 3 against Carolina (35 saves, including 20 in the first period).

"It starts with Tuukka," forward Charlie Coyle said. "When you have a goalie like that, a confident goalie, you're confident in him and he's confident in us, it goes both ways and that makes it easier to play in front of him. You're not worrying about mistakes because stuff does happen, but Tuuks is there to bail us out and make the big save when need be."

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