If the playoffs started tomorrow, the last team anyone would want to face is the Boston Bruins.
The Bruins have now won nine in a row after defeating the Minnesota Wild 4-1 on Monday night, and their offensive depth is a huge reason for their success. In those nine games, they have outscored their opponents 37-13. Not many teams in the NHL have the luxury of being able to run four lines all night, and even when they do, the third and fourth lines are thrown out on the ice to halt production, not create it.
The Bruins’ depth allows head coach Claude Julien to not only rotate all four lines equally, but get offense from everyone. Wild defenseman Ryan Suter leads the NHL in playing time per game, but he can’t stay on the ice all 60 minutes. He had to face fresh legs all night, which led to big problems.
The Bruins’ first goal from Jarome Iginla was off a lucky bounce, but on the Bruins’ second goal, it was obvious that Suter was dead tired and never had an opportunity to get off the ice. Carl Soderberg‘s pass to Loui Eriksson went right by Suter’s feet before Eriksson put it in the back of the net.
Suter was consistently matched up against the Bruins’ top line, which consists of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Iginla, and it was apparent that he had far too much on his plate. From the opening drop of the puck, the Bruins’ first line dominated nearly every shift they had together.
The second period is going to create all sorts of problems for opposing teams when they face the Bruins. The long change makes it even more difficult for defenseman to take quick shifts. Factor in that the Bruins will most likely have home-ice advantage for most of the playoffs, and opposing coaches are going to have even more problems matching up with the depth of the Bruins.
On Monday night, they got their first three goals from three different lines before Iginla’s empty netter made it a 4-1 game. Consistent production from every line will be a key for their quest to the Stanley Cup; secondary scoring is always a huge benefactor for teams in the postseason.
It honestly could have been much worse for the Wild. The Bruins had dozens of quality chances, including Daniel Paille‘s vicious wrister that rattled off the post with four minutes remaining in the third. Before this game, the Bruins had never beaten the Wild at home, but on Monday night, it was obvious from the beginning which team was most likely to come out on top.
Boston is going to be a serious force come playoff time.