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On Hockey

10 reasons the Bruins are NHL’s hottest team

The Bruins are enjoying a day off in Denver Wednesday after winning their 10th straight game Tuesday night against New Jersey, 4-2. They will practice in Denver Thursday in preparation for their game Friday against the Avalanche.

The Bruins are four wins away from tying their franchise record. They reeled off 14 straight wins from Dec. 3, 1929, to Jan. 9, 1930. To tie the record, they have to beat Colorado and Phoenix on the road on back-to-back nights, then top Montreal and Chicago at home next week. It will be a tall task.

Here are some of the things that have given them 10 straight wins:

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

1. Getting early leads

  • The Bruins have scored the first goal in seven of the 10 wins. This allows them to put their net on lockdown in the third.


Barry Chin/Globe Staff

2. Playing so-so opponents

  • Of the 10 wins, five came against teams currently in playoff position: Minnesota, Phoenix, Montreal, Tampa Bay, and the Rangers. This has not been the equivalent of the West Coast swing the Bruins took earlier this season.

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

3. Depth at all positions

  • Chad Johnson earned the win against the Devils Tuesday night. Corey Potter made his Bruins debut on the No. 3 pairing. The Bruins rolled four lines. Depth kills.

Winslow Townson/AP

4. Penalty kill

  • The Bruins killed off 20 straight penalties heading into Tuesday night’s game. New Jersey’s Patrik Elias scored a five-on-three goal in the second period. But the Bruins punched back when Brad Marchand scored a shorthanded goal. It’s one thing to kill penalties. It’s another to score on the PK. That’s a knockout punch to an opponent.

Julio Cortez/AP

5. Carl Soderberg at center

  • Soderberg started the season at left wing, but his switch to center has made the third line offensively dynamic. It has been the team’s most consistent line during the streak.

Bob DeChiara/USA Today

6. Loui Eriksson’s confidence

  • Part of Soderberg’s success is due to Eriksson finding his rhythm. Eriksson has been strong on the puck, quick with his stick, and excellent in tight areas. Not many teams can handle a No. 3 right wing with as many tricks in his bag as Eriksson.

Winslow Townson/AP

7. More options with Andrej Meszaros

  • The ex-Flyer, picked up for a conditional third-round pick, has given the Bruins multiple looks. Meszaros has played on the No. 1 defensive pairing alongside Zdeno Chara. He has been the left-side man on the second pairing. He has manned the point on both power plays. Meszaros’s versatility has given the blue line better balance.

Winslow Townson/AP

8. Jarome Iginla’s hot hand

  • Iginla gave the Bruins a 3-1 lead Tuesday night. He has nine goals during the streak. Teams are forced to match their best pairing against Iginla and the first line.

Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

9. Kevan Miller’s emergence

  • Miller has been a very good replacement for Adam McQuaid on the No. 3 defensive pairing. In the last two games, with Johnny Boychuk unavailable because of a bruised foot, Miller has assumed more shifts. That hasn’t been a problem. The Bruins hit big with Miller, an undrafted free agent.

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

10. Competition on the blue line

  • Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug, and Matt Bartkowski have been healthy scratches during the streak. That makes them hungry to get back in uniform. Desperate players can provide better results.

Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at fluto.shinzawa@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeFluto.
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