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Kalman: Criticisms Of Bruins’ Win Streak Unnecessary, Unwarranted

By Matt Kalman, CBS Boston
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Brad Marchand (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Brad Marchand (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) — In a desperate attempt to denigrate anything that’s positive, some people that bathe in misery in this town have taken to classifying the Bruins’ current 10-game winning streak as illegitimate because it has lacked a cornerstone win against another league power.

The Bruins haven’t faced anyone on the level of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks or Los Angeles Kings during their longest winning streak since November 2011.

However, the Bruins had no control of the schedule when it was made, as we all know. And if you go back through the Bruins’ other streak – a point in 12 straight road games (9-0-3) – they earned road points against the Blues and Blackhawks by making it past regulation against both of those title contenders.

In some ways, the Bruins’ road streak is more impressive because of those two non-regulation losses in a league where half of the teams are below .500 away from their home rinks. But it’s the 10-game winning streak that stands out both because it’s unblemished and because it’s pushed the Bruins to the top of the Eastern Conference and on the precipice of overtaking the lead for the Presidents’ Trophy.

Mock, if you will, the Bruins’ two victories against the lowly Florida Panthers, or their win against the slumping Carolina Hurricanes during the winning streak. But although the list of victories lacks an elite team, it’s definitely stocked with two other types of teams that can be difficult to beat – teams desperate for points and teams that already beat the Bruins this season.

The Bruins’ last loss was at home to the Washington Capitals on March 1. So it’s a credit to the Bruins that just five days later they manhandled the Caps at the Garden. The Bruins lost in embarrassing fashion to the New Jersey Devils back in October, as the Devils stormed back from 3-1 down and scored two late goals. Boston exacted its revenge Tuesday in Newark.

Then there was the ultimate revenge game, Boston’s 4-1 win at Montreal. The prior meeting between the rivals resulted in a Canadiens win by the same score. In the midst of still trying to find their game in the post-Olympic break portion of the schedule, the Bruins went into the Bell Centre and snapped a five-game losing streak to the Canadiens.

Other than the “revenge” games, the Bruins have had to deal with the New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Phoenix Coyotes and Minnesota Wild, who’ve already shifted into playoff mode because they’re so desperate for points just to get into the postseason. On the road against the Lightning, the Bruins even came from two goals down to earn two points.

So insulting the Bruins’ 10-game winning streak is just foolish, just as claiming that they’re peaking too soon is insanity. The Penguins won 15 in a row last March and reached the Stanley Cup semifinals, where we know that the only reason they didn’t keep advancing was because they ran into a superior Bruins team. If the Bruins come up short this spring and summer, it’ll be because they lose to a better team — not because they won too many games in March.

The Bruins will put their winning streak on the line against arguably the best team they’ve faced in a while, the Colorado Avalanche, on Friday. Regardless of how the Bruins fare, they’ve certainly used this month to dispose of teams they were supposed to beat and solidify their stake to elite status in the NHL. That’s better than the alternative.

Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for CBSBoston.com and also contributes to NHL.com and several other media outlets. Follow him on Twitter @TheBruinsBlog.

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