Yeah, it’s only three games. But three games is all our eyes need to tell us that the Boston Bruins under Bruce Cassidy are vastly different than they were under Claude Julien. They’ve looked like a more engaged and hungry unit than they have in seemingly months. And the results so far are six points in three games after last night’s delicious 4-0 thumping of the hated Habs (who still love dirty penalties when they know they’re gonna lose).
A week ago, watching the Bruins felt more like a chore than the fun escape it’s supposed to be. But after turfing Claude, replacing him with Butch, then beating the Sharks, Canucks, and Canadiens by a combined 14-6, I was kind of hoping there was a matinee today instead of the so-called bye week. Because for the last several days, Cassidy has made hockey fun again in Boston.
How long this fun will last for is the main question. It’s needs to happen for more than three games. But already, there’s a different feeling around this team. Every guy got a clean slate and there were no longer any doghouses in the locker room (well, for now). The coach has taken a more aggressive approach than his predecessor and given the D a collective green light they didn’t have before. And the team has responded in kind.
Though there was some sloppiness in the wins over San Jose and Vancouver, last night’s 4-0 whitewashing of the floundering Canadiens was one of the team’s more impressive wins of the season. The Bruins were passionate, they skated hard, they hit, they scored, Rask played great, and they sent the message via their play that they’re gonna fight like hell for a playoff spot.
Speaking of which, the Bruins are now just six points behind Montreal for first place in the Atlantic and each team has 24 games left. Yet, it’s possible that they find themselves on the outside looking in after a week off and other teams finally play the games they’ve had in hand since the season began. The betting here is that regardless of where the Bs sit in the standings after their February vacation, they’ll be a playoff team when April rolls around.