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Bruins Finally Rounding into Form: Fan Take
The defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins are riding consecutive wins for just the second time since January and their sudden resurgence couldn't have come at a better time. For a day, the Ottawa Senators sent the Bruins from second to seventh in the Eastern Conference. Less than a week later, the Bruins' lead is back to three points with two games in hand. Barring a drastic change in the standings, these two teams are slated to meet in the first round of the playoffs and the Bruins are closing in on earning home ice advantage for the series.
Over the last two games, Boston is back to playing dominant, physical hockey with a full 60-minute effort. Before this abrupt turnaround, little was working. The forward lines played sluggishly, the defense was turnover-prone, and the goaltending allowed the opposition to capitalize on every mistake. After handing the Philadelphia Flyers their second loss in nine games and stomping the Toronto Maple Leafs by a score of 8-0, the team has a very different feel from that which it inspired during its four-game losing streak.
For a while, it seemed like every time a defenseman returned to the lineup, another was knocked out with an injury. The Bruins finally have their full defense core healthy. After playing the first 70 games of the season, Joe Corvo has back-to-back healthy scratches and the championship pairing of Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg has been reunited. Not so coincidentally, Tim Thomas has faced only 42 combined shots over the last two games and recorded his first shutout since December.
When Rich Peverley was lost to injury, the Bruins struggled to piece together a full slate of top six forwards. Now, Jordan Caron's emergence has helped to stabilize the Bruins' top two scoring lines. His presence on the David Krejci line has added to its physical prowess and allowed Tyler Seguin to rejoin Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand on their highly effective line. Peverley has also resumed skating with the team and is now day-to-day.
In their last two games, the Bruins have come out with fire. They have prevented their opponents from sending a shot on goal in the first ten minutes of each game and carried their effort from start to finish. Maintaining that effort is the key to their road trip, the rest of the regular season, and their playoff hopes. The Bruins begin their last three-game road trip of the season tonight, March 22, against the San Jose Sharks.
Boston Bruins, Yahoo! Sports
Fluto Shinzawa, "Rich Peverley feeling good after first morning skate," March 19, 2012, Boston Globe
William Menna is a native New Englander and longtime Boston sports fan.
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