It was a fitting end to a phenomenal week of Bruins hockey. Five classic match-ups, including 4 against Original Six teams... 9 out of 10 possible points earned... add to that the fact that the Bruins haven't lost in regulation since October 30 (against Calgary) and it's virtually impossible not to feel your nipples getting a little hard when you think about the Spoked B.
The Good: OFFENSE, BABY, OFFENSE! In 5 games, the Bruins have outscored their opponents by a whopping 20-11. Moreover, that's been despite being out-shot in 3 of those 5 games... the Bruins scored 20 goals on just 140 shots, good for a team shooting percentage of 14.3. Since the season's inception, we've heard about Claude Julien's emphasis on reining in his young players and encouraging them to be smart with their shots; the stats are absolutely validating his approach. Additionally, let's not forget our blue-eyed first-line center whose play has been so consistent that I almost take it for granted: Marc Savard had 9 points in 5 games this week and is now at 25 fracking points on the season. After more than 11 years toiling in the NHL, Savvy is finally emerging as the bona fide hockey star he's clearly always had the talent to be, and we're lucky as hell to be the team who's come together around his unbelievable play. OH MY GOD I JUST GOT TEARS IN MY EYES.
The Bad: Well, we did lose in another shootout. I have a feeling shootout situations will continue to provide ample fodder for Bruins-related bitching for the remainder of the season. Plus -- and I'm sorry, but it's got to be said -- I'm still waiting for Patrice Bergeron to make his return to the ice felt. Bergie's anchoring the second line with the highly capable PJ Axelsson and Michael Ryder (!) flanking him, and spends as much time on the ice as the unstoppable Savvy, but has just 9 assists to Savvy's 18, while Ryder has just 3 goals and Axelsson's yet to score (despite having maintained a shooting percentage of 13.0 or better for two seasons straight prior to this year). With our 3rd and 4th lines performing as effectively as they are, it's disappointing to see our 2nd line still struggling to gel offensively. I'll say this right now: the Axelsson - Bergeron - Ryder line hitting its stride is what will make the difference between these Bruins being a great team rather than merely a good team.
Play of the Week: Obviously, there are oodles of sexy highlights from this past week. However, I've selected the final seconds of play from Monday's win over Toronto: not only for Tim Thomas' heroic last-minute save, but for the defensive ferocity displayed by the Bruins as they struggle to kill a 6-4 power play and keep the Leafs from tying it up. (The clip doesn't actually do it justice, but was the best I could find... the 6-on-4 situation lasted for nearly a minute.)
Fight of the Week: After all that went down against Montreal last year, Milan Lucic just couldn't wait to get his hands on Mike Komisarek. Behold, my lovelies, as tough-guy Komisarek dives like a little bitch before the wrath of our fearsome Serbian enforcer. RARGH!