Nick Goss

Bruins go into All-Star break atop NHL standings with red-hot offense

The Bruins have won six of their last eight games.

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There are plenty of teams around the NHL that are very happy the All-Star break has arrived. The Boston Bruins are probably not one of them.

Sure, the nine days of rest will be great for the B's to take a break mentally and physically from the grind of the regular season, but this group is absolutely dominating opponents right now.

The Bruins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 6-2 on the road Saturday afternoon. David Pastrnak led the offensive explosion with two goals and an assist. Pavel Zacha (two assists) and James van Riemsdyk (one goal, two assists) also played well.

Boston blew the game open in the first period with four goals in a span of 4:14.

The Bruins go into the All-Star break with six wins in their last eight games. They own the league's top record at 31-9-9, which gives them a seven-point cushion over the Florida Panthers for first place in the Atlantic Division.

“That’s what you want in that last game, you know (the break) is right around the corner, but you want to make sure we focus and do all the right things, play with good habits still," Bruins center Charlie Coyle told reporters postgame. "You feel much better going into the break when you have a solid game. With a win like that, you get to enjoy the break a little more.”

After struggling to score goals consistently over the first few months of the season, the Bruins' offense has been red-hot since the holiday break ended. In their 17 games from Dec. 27 through Saturday, the B's lead the league with 73 goals and rank eighth in scoring chances with 470, per Natural Stat Trick. Boston's power play also has the sixth-best success rate during that span at 28.9 percent.

This team ultimately will be judged by what it accomplishes in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and rightly so. Great regular season performances have been commonplace for the Bruins over the last 15 or so years. Postseason success has been much harder to come by.

Still, you have to give the Bruins a lot of credit for leading the league standings entering February. Very few people expected the B's to be in first place at this stage of the campaign after they lost so many good players last offseason and lacked the salary cap space to replace them.

The Bruins will be back in action Feb. 6 when they host the Calgary Flames at TD Garden.

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