Boston, MA - For the entirety of the season, every team in the Atlantic Division has been chasing the 32-8-2 Tampa Bay Lightning. For the Boston Bruins, injuries have kept them from living up to their full potential, but as they become healthier, they find themselves slowly gaining ground in the division. While they are still fourteen points behind Tampa Bay in the standings, they now find themselves just four points behind another divisional stalwart in the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Interestingly, the Bruins have reclaimed the third place spot in the division since it was usurped by the Buffalo Sabres earlier in the season. Boston has a two point lead over Buffalo after a four game winning streak to improve their record to 24-14-4 and since the Winter Classic, they've looked as impressive as they have all season.
Following this 4-2 New Year's Day victory over the Chicago Blackhawks, the Bruins stared down the barrel at two matchups upcoming, one with the Calgary Flames and the other with the Sabres themselves.
On Thursday against the Flames, Jaroslav Halak got the start in net for the Bruins and he ended up turning an impressive performance as he made thirty-three saves over the course of the game. He did get off to a rough start by allowing a shorthanded goal. But Boston came back quickly and never relented the lead again.
John Moore netted a power play goal to even the score in the second period and it was Jake DeBrusk who scored the next goal to allow Boston to never look back. Brad Marchand made it 3-2 Bruins in the second period and he scored again in the third period, as assisted by David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron. Pastrnak scored a goal of his own, on a power play, which was good for his twenty-fifth on the season. The 6-4 score was finished by DeBrusk, who also added his second goal of the game.
Against Buffalo, Boston won 2-1 thanks to thirty-one saves from Tuukka Rask and goals from Chris Wagner and David Backes. Backes' goal was interestingly assisted by Rask. The game showcased how capable Boston can be on defense, even when the offense sputters. Regardless, Boston is now back in third place. And they have their eyes on rising further.