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10-24-2003, 03:24 PM
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I think three of the biggest reasons for the B's surprising start last season were:

1. Montreal playoff emabarassment - Sean O'Donnell, Joe Thornton and Glen Murray all said how the team wanted to prove themselves after being humiliated by the Habs five months earlier. Call it redemption, pride or what have you, but they were motivated to play. When your key players are charged, it goes a long way to carrying your team.

2. Ftorek's improved system - With Berard and Girard in tow, Robbie finally had a real element of speed on defense. He changed his gameplan as a result. If anyone knows Ftorek, he's a student of the game. He can see things that others can't see. His idea was to really spring the offense into action with a quick transition. We would see the B's d-men quickly gather the puck and shoot an accurate first pass to a winger set up near the blueline, who, in turn, would tip it to a rushing forward. It was a fast breakout, and many teams were not ready for it. The Bruins create numerous scoring chances by hitting the opponent's blueline with speed. By comparision, you don't see much of that this season. Either way, once word got out, teams would negate that forward pass or increase their trap to slow the B's speed through the nuetral zone. In other words, they adjusted.

3. It was early in the season - As with most teams, the first month often includes auditions that carry over from training camp. Teams are still finding combos, tweaking their teams and adjusting their gameplans. On the other hand, the Bruins were a smooth running team executing quite effectively. That tilted enough games to the B's favor. To that end, I distinctly remember the B's winning several easy games -- meaning they didn't have to work too hard for the W.

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