BOSTON (CBS) – Riding their first win streak of the season, the Boston Bruins will look to build off it Monday night against the Islanders at the Garden.
With a five-game home stand, they could pick up some ground after a 5-7 start. But for now, the B’s are just focused on Monday night.
“One at a time, for me,” forward Shawn Thornton said of his approach. “I think that’s the reason we’ve had success the last few years I’ve been here; no one really looks at the whole big picture; it’s kind of daunting. One at a time, just focus on tonight, then Thursday. I don’t even know when the next game is after that to tell you the truth.”
The Bruins beat the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs their last two times out because of strong play in the defensive zone. That led to more, and better, offensive chances that the Bruins were able to take advantage of.
“When we’re playing our system defensively, it turns into better opportunities up ice,” said Thornton. “We’re doing a pretty good job coming back hard, and focusing on being good in our own zone.”
“We won the last two games the way we want to play,” said Tyler Seguin, who netted his first career hat-trick in a 7-0 win over the Leafs on Saturday. “We played great Bruins hockey, it was a nice flashback from last year. We can’t go back in the dark.”
Seguin’s second goal on Saturday came because of a strong play on defense. He was able to strip the puck at mid-ice, and started a rush with teammate Patrice Bergeron.
Forcing the opposition into turnovers was something he was not able to do last year as a rookie.
“That play is what I’ve been trying to get better at; making a defnsive zone play or a turnover to lead to an offensive opportunity,” the 19-year-old said Monday.
Read: Bruins-Islanders Preview
“So much credit goes to him,” coach Claude Julien said Monday. “Because as much as we’ve tried to teach him he’s just kind of bought in big time and believes in it. He wants to be that kind of player. We all know he’s great offensively but he wants more than that. He also wants to be reliable.”
The veteran leaders on Boston have already taken notice to the strides the star in the making has made.
“That’s what you want to see out of a young player, second year in the league, getting better and better,” assistant captain Chris Kelly said. “It seems that each game he’s getting more and more confident. Last game with three goals, he played extremely well. Not even the goals so much, but how he played in his own end; the second goal, stripping the guy at the red line.”
While Seguin is making the leap in his second season, Kelly is hitting a milestone of his own Monday night. It will be his 500th career game in the NHL.
“My dad reminded me yesterday,” Kelly said, unaware at first of the milestone he was about to reach. “It’s always nice to hit a milestone like that.”
His head coach was much more excited, and happy to sing the praise of the seven-year veteran.
“Well consistency is one of them. Leadership is another one. I think his hockey sense is great,” Julien said of Kelly. “He’s a versatile player who can play center or wing. And again I said that before he’s wearing an “A” because he’s a good leader and also a very well-respected teammate.”
“He’s got a lot of qualities that when we got him we knew about, so all he did was reinforce all those things we heard about,” added Julien.
98.5 The Sports Hub is the only place to hear every game of the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins 2011-12 NHL season with Dave Goucher and Bob Beers. Pregame coverage begins 30 minutes before the puck drops, with Postgame coverage following each game.