Thursday night's thumping of the Montreal Canadiens by the Boston Bruins could be the turning point for the franchise.
The Bruins have had some pretty lean years of late, but seem poised to challenge this year.
Symbolic of the Bruins weak showing has been their record against arch rival Montreal. Montreal had won the previous 12 consecutive match-ups, the longest such winning streak by one NHL team of another.
The Bruins convincing and emotional win over the Habs could prove to be prophetic of better days ahead for the Bruins. The win pulled them into first place in the entire Eastern Conference. They're a top 10 offensive team, led by Marc Savard, Marco Sturm, Phil Kessel, Milan Lucic and Blake Wheeler. And they are barely giving up 2 goals a game, with Tim Thomas playing spectacularly in net, and Manny Fernandez quietly keeping up.
With a little luck from the injury gods, Boston looks like a playoff team this year.
By the way, with Montreal's winning streak snapped, the longest current winning streak by one NHL team against another is now shared by the Sharks, who've won 11 in a row versus the Blackhawks, and the Flyers, who have an 11-game winning streak against the Thrashers.
Also from the Elias Sports Bureau:
Chris Osgood improved his record to 17-0-0 against Tampa Bay. Only two goaltenders in NHL history won their first 17 decisions against a particular team: Ken Dryden won his first 19 decisions against Washington and Bob Froese won his first 17 decisions against Pittsburgh.
Simon Gagne scored two shorthanded goals in the second period for the Flyers. Gagne is the third player in Flyers history to score two shorties in one period. Bill Barber did it on April 1, 1978 and Brian Propp on January 13, 1985.
Defenseman Marek Zidlicky had two goals and one assist for the Wild in their win over the Coyotes. It was Zidlicky's 14th game with three-or-more points in his five seasons in the NHL. (The first 13 came in the four seasons he played for Nashville) That's the most three-point games since the start of the 2003-04 season by an NHL defenseman, one more than both Nicklas Lidstrom and Chris Pronger (13 each).
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