The Boston Bruins have performed consistently well at most points during the season. At times, things weren’t always meshing perfectly to reach the final objective: winning the cup. With the Tampa Bay Lightning staying one step ahead of Boston all season, team management sensed a change in their top line might be in order.
On February 25, Boston sent the New York Rangers 2 draft picks and a trio of skaters for 33-year-old Rick Nash. Nash is known for his excellent ability at all points on the ice. As the NHL trade deadline approached, Boston also obtained Ryan McDonagh. Collectively, Nash and McDonagh give Boston a chance to win and win big.
The idea of winning big in New England is Stanley Cup big. Since GM Don Sweeney began his recent retooling of the Boston roster, the Bruins have jumped from third in the conference standings into second place. They are also closing the gap between Atlantic Division rival Tampa Bay.
Nash made his home debut on February 27, helping Boston avoid a three-game slide with a win over the Hurricanes. Boston’s moves continue to prove their merit. Since the overtime win against Carolina, the Bruins have continued to play outstanding hockey in tough situations.
They are now riding a four game winning streak, two more of those wins netted in OT. Nash would score as part of an eight goal offensive onslaught against Pittsburgh. Then, Nash would assist on two out of the three goals Brad Marchand would score, including the game winner in overtime.
The Bruins and their newly added members will host the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday evening. As part of Berkshire Bank Hockey Night in New England, Boston will be continuing their push for the top spot in the eastern conference.
Stealing home ice away from Tampa Bay could make the difference in hosting a deciding final game for the conference championship. Both the Lightning and Bruins have stellar records on their home ice. They are tied for the most wins on home ice behind the Penguins.
Still six points behind the conference-leading Tampa Bay Lightning, the coveted first seed in the east is within their grasp. Mid-season changes can place a difficult strain on the continuity of a hockey team. However, the new cast of Bruins is helping Boston score big wins when they matter the most.