Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports

Bruins 5, Senators 1: Taking care of business leads B's to 5th straight win

Ty Anderson
December 27, 2017 - 11:28 pm

Nobody knows the dangers of prematurely going into cruise control quite like the Bruins, of course, but this team may be approaching it faster than any of us possibly imagined.

And that’s OK, because the Atlantic Division stinks.

The proof came in the the first of what will be four head-to-heads with the Senators -- yes, the same Sens that somehow defeated the Bruins in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season -- when the Bruins jumped out to a 3-0 lead with goals on three of their first 11 shots in 21:25 and never looked back in a 5-1 final at TD Garden.

It was a win powered by the secondary scoring options, as the Danton Heinen-Riley Nash-David Backes line, accounted for four of the club’s five goals, while the Matt Grzelcyk and Kevan Miller pairing totaled a goal and three helpers (Grzelcyk was a plus-3 while Miller finished the night with a plus-4 rating in 18:52 of time on ice).

It was the kind of effort that made a relatively quiet night from the Patrice Bergeron line, which accounted for just five of the B’s 23 shots (Brad Marchand and Bergeron each had two, while David Pastrnak had just one), tolerable for the B’s.

“It’s something we were searching for,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, whose team has won a season-best five games in a row, said of the secondary scoring helping a silent night from the Bergeron line. “Nash’s line has chipped in on I think on a fairly regular basis. [Ryan] Spooner’s group certainly has the ability to do it. You saw that with Anders [Bjork] tonight, found his legs. It’s a big plus for us, takes a lot of load off of those guys. They’re going to want to score every night; it’s how they play. I think [Bergeron’s line] had drive tonight, it just didn’t go in for them, or maybe one too many passes or however you want to analyze it, so for us to be able to do that is a good sign.

But with a win tonight, the 45-point Bruins moved back in second place in the Atlantic, and hold a two-game advantage over the Maple Leafs, who are also at 45 points.

While they can pivot back and forth between second and third based on what the Leafs do on a night-to-night basis, the Bruins currently hold a nine-point edge over the fourth-place Canadiens (with two games in hand), 10-point edge over the fifth-place Panthers (with two games in hand), 12-point lead over the sixth-place Red Wings, and now have a staggering 15-point edge over the seventh-place Sens.

It’s been a double-whammy of sorts, too, as the Bruins have beaten the Red Wings and Sens in their last two games, creating gaps that have basically doomed those teams.

“Clearly, those are games where they’re looking to catch up. We are the team in front of them. Might be Toronto next for them, hopefully, if we keep playing well,” Cassidy said. “These are the teams in the division – Ottawa, Montreal, Detroit – right now they are looking up at, so they have got to make up ground. The easiest way to do that is to beat the teams that are directly in front of you. I don’t think we look at it the same way they do; we are just trying to play good hockey and win and keep climbing up.”

This is taking care of business in the truest form.

And it’s just the beginning of an Atlantic-heavy stretch.

As mentioned earlier, the Bruins have another three meetings with the Sens, and have yet to start their season series against both the Canadiens and Panthers. And including tonight’s contest, 10 of the B’s next 20 games are against divisional opponents.

“I looked at the schedule here and I think in the rest of December and January we have a lot of games against the Senators, a couple against Florida, the Habs,” B’s center Ryan Spooner admitted. “So those games are going to be huge for us so I’m happy that we won the one tonight, and we’re playing them again in four days.”

It’s a head-to-head matchup advantage that’s clearly found a way to favor the Black and Gold (they've taken points in all but one of their eight divisional showdowns), and paced them for legitimate comfort in February for the first time in four years.

The Big Bad Blog is presented by:

 Technology Decisions Aren’t Black and White. Think Red. Click here for more.

Comments ()