BOSTON (CBS) — After a 113-day lockout, an abbreviated training camp and zero preseason games, the Boston Bruins have hit the ground running to begin the shortened 48-game schedule for the 2013 season. Following a 4-2 win over the Islanders at home on Friday night, the Bruins remained unbeaten during regulation with a 3-0-1 record.
“Since I’ve been here, we’ve never had a start like this,” said Milan Lucic, who is in his sixth season in Black and Gold. “We’re playing with an edge. We’re playing hungry. When you have that much time off, you kind of sit back and you kind of — for me, personally — feel fortunate to be a part of this group. I think that’s what’s kind of gotten us off to this good start. We’re just so happy and fortunate to be back together here and playing for each other, and let’s hope that that mentality keeps up.”
The Bruins have more than luck on their side. After that long lockout and short preseason, teams with a lot of turnover may need time to develop chemistry. The Bruins, meanwhile, remain largely intact from last season, and 16 skaters remain on the roster from the Stanley Cup-winning season of 2011.
The vibe around the Bruins is rightfully positive, but history shows a hot four-game start doesn’t always bring about success.
The Bruins haven’t made it four games into a season without a regulation loss since 2000, when they began the year with an opening night tie with Ottawa before beating Philadelphia, Florida and Anaheim for a 3-0-0-1.
Things were promising for the Bruins that year, but hopes were diminished rather quickly. After that 3-0-0-1 start, the Bruins lost four straight, getting outscored 19-5 along the way. Following a win and an OT loss, the B’s lost four of their next five and were just 6-10-2-2 after 20 games.
Head coach Pat Burns was fired during that stretch, and Mike Keenan didn’t do too much better, as the team ended up with a 36-30-8-8 record. They finished in fourth place in the Northeast Division and failed to make the playoffs.
The Bruins fared a bit better in the lockout-shortened 1995 season. They began the year 3-1-0 and finished 27-18-3, fourth in the Eastern Conference, before getting eliminated in five games by the eventual Cup champion-Devils in the first round of the playoffs.
Through four games, having earned seven of a possible eight points, the Bruins are obviously right where they want to be. It’s a good start, but there’s a lot more hockey to be played.