Nick Goss

These four factors have powered Bruins' dominant 9-game point streak

The Bruins are the hottest team in the NHL right now.

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The Boston Bruins lead the Eastern Conference standings with a 29-8-9 record after beating a very good Winnipeg Jets team 4-1 at TD Garden on Monday night.

The result extended the Bruins' point streak to nine games and win streak to five games. Even though the B's trail the Vancouver Canucks by one point for the NHL's best record, they do lead all 32 teams with a .728 points percentage.

The Bruins are now 10-1-3 since emerging from the holiday break back on Dec. 27. They went into the holiday break with four consecutive losses. Some people at that time were beginning to wonder if the Bruins were a little overrated. But that talk looks silly now.

The Bruins are without a doubt one of the sport's top teams. Whether they can translate this regular season success into a lengthy playoff run remains to be seen.

Here are four factors powering the Bruins' nine-game point streak and five-game win streak entering Thursday's matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden.

Charlie Coyle is a legit top-six center

One of the biggest question marks coming into the 2023-24 season was whether Charlie Coyle could step into a top-six role and replace some of the production Patrice Bergron provided for many years.

So far, Coyle has exceeded even the highest of expectations.

The veteran center has scored in three of his last four games, and he tallied his 17th goal of the season against the Jets, which represents a new high for his career with the Bruins since joining his hometown team midway through the 2018-19 campaign. Coyle is currently on pace to smash his overall career high of 21 goals set with the Minnesota Wild back in 2015-16.

He's also on track to shatter his goals, assists and points per 60 minutes rates from last season.

Bergeron scored 17 goals with 20 assists through 46 games last season. Coyle has almost the same stat line (17 goals, 21 assists) through 46 games this year. He's giving the Bruins exactly what they need at such an important position.

Jake DeBrusk's scoring has erupted

Jake DeBrusk is very hot and cold offensively. He'll have stretches where he produces like a bonafide top-six wing, and then he'll go through a long slump.

DeBusk didn't score once over the first 11 games of December, but since then he has found the back of the net eight times in his last 13 contests. He currently has a three-game goal streak after scoring a shorthanded goal against the Jets that gave the B's a commanding 3-1 lead late in the third period.

The importance of DeBrusk's emergence offensively for the Bruins cannot be understated. If he can be a little more consistent as a scorer, maybe the Bruins don't need to give up their prime assets to acquire a top-six forward ahead of the March 8 trade deadline.

DeBrusk also should be plenty motivated to finish the season strong because he's eligible to be an unrestricted free agent in the summer. He has the ability to make himself a lot of money with a good playoff run.

Secondary scoring boost

The Bruins are the league's highest-scoring team since the holiday break with 61 goals. They also lead all 32 teams with 39 goals scored during their nine-game point streak.

"Our willingness to hang on to pucks. Our willingness to play five guys together, especially coming out of our D-zone through the neutral zone, and then really in the offensive zone," Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery said after Monday's game when asked about his team's scoring surge.

"I think the defenseman have been active and opened up space for the forwards, and I think the forwards have done a really good job of making plays when they're there, and then hanging onto pucks or putting it into areas where we can continue to possess."

The most encouraging part of his scoring uptick for Boston is the amount of players contributing. This isn't a case of the big guns -- David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, etc. -- shouldering most of the burden. Those guys are definitely playing well, but the secondary scoring contributions have been impressive.

Trent Frederic has three goals and three assists during the team's nine-game point streak. He's only six points away from breaking his career high in scoring (31 points) set last season. Morgan Geekie has scored once with five assists during this run for the B's. Jakub Lauko was promoted to the third line versus the Jets and extended his personal point streak to a career-high three games by scoring what ultimately was the winning goal in the second period.

Danton Heinen has three goals and two assists over the B's nine-game point streak. He tallied his first career hat trick last Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens. He has produced 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) on a one-year, $775,000 contract. That's tremendous value.

The Bruins still could use another middle-six forward who can provide an extra scoring punch. But the fact that so many of the guys already on the roster are providing important secondary scoring is absolutely an encouraging sign. These are the players who can swing a playoff series with a surprise performance.

Third-period dominance

Blowing third-period leads was an issue for the Bruins earlier this season, and it also was a major problem in their first-round playoff series loss to the Florida Panthers last April.

The Bruins had an even goal differential in the third period entering the holiday break last month. During this nine-game point streak, they have scored the second-most third-period goals with 17 and own the league's top third-period goal differential (plus-14). Their three goals allowed in the third period during this stretch is tied for the lowest in the league.

Monday night's win against the Jets was a perfect example of the Bruins not only protecting a lead against a top-tier opponent but actually building on it and securing the win. They held a 2-1 lead after two periods and didn't score their third goal until 5:25 remaining in regulation. The Bruins defended very well and allowed just five high-danger chances at 5-on-5 through 60 minutes.

โ€œWe've had a lot of games here recently where we've been scoring goals, but it was nice to have a 2-1 game going into the third and to be able to extend the lead again,โ€ Montgomery said postgame. โ€œI thought we gave up a couple of chances, and they pushed, theyโ€™re a real good hockey team. But I was glad with the patience we had.โ€

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