What a time to be a Boston sports fan.
The Patriots are headed to their second-consecutive Super Bowl, the Celtics look like the favorites in the East, Red Sox pitchers and catchers report in just over three weeks and the Boston Bruins are playing like a Stanley Cup contender.
I never thought I would be typing those words this season – especially with how the team got started.
But alas, here we are on Jan. 22 and the B’s are in fourth place in the league and second in the Atlantic Division.
Oh – they also haven’t lost consecutive games in regulation since Dec. 14 where they lost to the Washington Capitals and they just beat the Montreal Canadiens three times in a week en route to a 16-game point streak.
For what it’s worth, the main thing the Bruins should look to improve on is scoring first – although us Boston fans are all too familiar with playing from behind with the Celtics continuously fighting back from significant deficits to the Patriots making our hearts stop this past Sunday during the AFC Championship game and even the Red Sox had some exciting walk-off wins last season (especially that 19-inning game).
But with the dominant line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, scoring doesn’t seem to be an issue regardless if their opponent scores first. The team’s top line was responsible for three out of the four goals in their 4-1 over the Habs on Saturday night despite Max Pacioretty giving the enemies the lead first.
One thing that was painfully clear to Habs fans over the three games against Boston: the Bruins have the upper hand in this rivalry – there is no doubt about that.
Even Claude Julien – the current coach of the Canadiens and former Bruins coach agrees. “We don’t match up against them right now. Absolutely not,” he told reporters after Saturday night’s loss.
I won’t lie, he’s absolutely right.
They put up a good fight against Boston in their 4-3 shootout loss earlier this month, but their lackluster performance on Saturday just further proved this team does not match up with the Bruins.
Man, does it feel good to good to say that.
Part of Montreal’s problem could be that they’re missing Shea Weber, who’s been sidelined with a left foot injury since the 34 game of the season. They’re definitely missing him – especially against the B’s top line.
The Habs looked lost against Pasta, Bergy and Marchy and were lucky that 4-1 loss wasn’t a 12-1 defeat. There was nothing they could do to stop the powerful line all night.
I would have been satisfied had Boston come out of those three games with two wins, but I most certainly won’t complain they took three wins in eight days against their biggest rival – twice at the Bell Centre.
The two teams don’t meet again until March 3 when the Habs visit the TD Garden. A lot can change in the standings between now and then. Maybe Weber will be healthy and back on the ice for his team and the Habs will get hot.
Maybe the Bruins will continue to stay hot and on the heels of the teams in front of them. Regardless of what happens, one thing is for certain:
The rivalry continues and both teams will be hungry for a win against the other.
Written by: Lauren Campbell (@lalalalaurrrren)