After a demoralizing 4-1 loss against old friend Craig Ramsay and the then-Atlanta Thrashers on November 28th, the Bruins were 12-8-2. They weren't terrible, but they certainly weren't impressing anyone. The team had sleepwalked through a majority of its November schedule after starting on a blistering 6-2 pace.
But, much like their Eastern Conference-best cohorts two years prior, the Bruins turned it on when the calendar turned to December.
They went 9-2-3 in that month, including a blistering beatdown against Atlanta (see?)
Bruins/Thrashers line brawl uncut NESN 1080p HD 12/23/10 (via dafoomie)
that reminded everyone of the tilt against Dallas back at the beginning of the 2008-09 season.
Bruins-Stars line brawl and more 11/1/08 (via dafoomie)
Save for an ugly 3-0 loss to Anaheim - a surefire candidate for worst game of the season, the Bruins December was magical.
They started the new year off slow, giving up late leads against Buffalo and Montreal and losing in overtime in both those games, but rebounded quickly with an historic come-from-behind win at Pittsburgh, a 6-0 thrashing of a helpless Ottawa squad, a 7-5 knockout of Philadelphia and a 7-0 whitewashing of Carolina in the week following the loss at the Bell Centre.
They went to Colorado and lost Marc Savard - again, and probably forever - but beat up on the hapless Avs, anyway. They finished January with an 8-4-3 mark on the month, but there was definitely still something missing. The energy was still there - as was evidenced in an early February 6-3 slugfest win against Dallas and the epic 8-6 defeat of Montreal - but there was an element of skill that was missing.
That skill came in the form of Chris Kelly, Rich Peverley and - bite your tongues - Tomas Kaberle, who came aboard just before the Bruins started a six-game road trip against some of the NHL's worst competition. As everyone knows, they swept the road trip, but came home only to lose three of four, and later to give up big leads in games against Buffalo, the New York Islanders and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Oh, and that thing happened in Montreal, too.
The Bruins went 8-5-3 in their last month, the lone highlight being beating Montreal by a touchdown on March 24th, but struggling to get into the playoffs with any sort of momentum.
And they started the playoffs off by losing two straight to those hated Habs, before coming back to win eight of their next nine, beating Montreal in overtime thrice, including in game seven, and going on to sweep away the Flyers in a series that wasn't even close.
Tampa gave them more trouble, as the Bruins needed a Nathan Horton goal six-and-a-half minutes into game seven to put that series away and advance to their first Stanley Cup Final since 1992. When they got there, they met a focused but very annoying Vancouver Canucks team that beat them twice in the first two games. The series shifted to Boston, and shifted for good, when Aaron Rome took out Horton with a hit at the blue line early in game three.
From there, the Bruins outscored the Canucks 21-4 in the rest of the series, shutting them out twice and holding them to one goal twice, to boot, and won the series with a commanding game four performance.
It was, at many times, a season that seemed like it wouldn't end, but also a season that didn't quite seem like it was going to go as far as it did. And yet, just when you started to wonder if they couldn't make it, they made it last longer. And now, they're Stanley Cup Champions.
But with so many ups and downs, where did it all start to go right?