Tonight in Pittsburgh, the 2010/11 Boston Bruins showed their five star quality.
A five-goal third period against a shell-shocked Pittsburgh Penguins saw the Bruins hit the Birds for a magnificent seven on only 26 shots, including one goal and two assists for former Penguin Mark Recchi and a game-winner from the fourth line as Shawn Thornton potted his third of the season.
It had started badly for the Bruins, as Aaron Asham seized upon a rebound in front of Tim Thomas' net and lifted the puck high past the Boston goaltender after only one minute and five seconds. Former Penguin Recchi then scored at the second attempt from the right side after Pens goalie Brent Johnson had saved the initial shot.
The Bruins increased their lead late in the second thanks to an unassisted goal from speedy pest Brad Marchand, who's beginning to establish himself on the Bruins left side in his first full NHL season after stealing a loose pass from Asham and gunning a puck past Johnson - however they were then pegged back as Brooks Orpik trailed an Evgeni Malkin rush perfectly to even things up late, in a feisty period which also saw two fights in the first seven minutes, though surprisingly none involving Matt Cooke after his hit on Marc Savard last season, with Thornton taking on Eric Godard before Max Talbot battled with Greg Campbell.
In the second, the Pens took control. After Adam McQuaid and Aaron Asham continued the pugilistics early, in an even period that saw the home side with the majority of shots, the Pens exerted pressure on Tim Thomas that finally paid dividends late in the period as Chris Kunitz batted home a rebound before Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin combined for a Malkin tap-in.
Then came the third. A period which was possibly the best this Bruins team have played in this young 10/11 season - one that showed a team building in resilience, belief and scoring ability.
Nathan Horton started the avalanche with a fine solo goal, taking a dump from Seidenberg behind the right-hand side of Brent Johnson before wheeling backwards out into the circle and ripping a wrister through a crowded crease.
Fifteen seconds later a trademark Chara one-timer on the rush off a Jordan Caron feed flew past Johnson and it was 4-each, and the Bruins were back level in a position from which they never looked back.
The fifth goal came from an unlikely source, however. Shawn Thornton was given space and time on a rush down the right side, elected to shoot and found the smallest of gaps in Johnson's defence for the Bruins to lead. This knocked the stuffing out of a lacklustre Penguins, whose collapse was sealed by Blake Wheeler finishing from close in off a feed from behind from Recchi. That gave the 42-year-old ex-Penguin his third point on the night. A Milan Lucic empty-netter sealed the win.
The Bruins have now improved to 6-1 on the road this young season, and bounced back in fine style after losing their last two games. It's only November, but this is the kind of performance that will serve the Bruins well in their long march towards (hopefully) the Stanley Cup playoffs this season, against a team who is likely to be one of their major playoff rivals come April.