Tuukka Rask and the Bruins are on a roll

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There has been no hotter team in the NHL over the past month than the Boston Bruins.

Following their 3-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday afternoon the Bruins are now on a 13-3-1 run over their past 17 games dating back to Nov. 16, the best record in the NHL over that stretch.

That run has helped them climb to the second spot (pending the result of the Toronto Maple Leafs game on Saturday night) in the Atlantic Division along with the seventh best points percentage in the NHL.

Their big-three trio of forwards up front — Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak — have been a key cog in that success. All of them have been putting up massive numbers with all three contributing all of the offense on Saturday.

Another key vital part of this hot streak: Starting goaltender Tuukka Rask.

Rask stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced in Saturday’s game and continued what has been by far his best stretch of hockey this season.

Including Saturday’s game Rask is now 8-0-1 in his past nine decisions with a save percentage (via NHL PR).

The key for the Bruins is whether or not this is a sign of Rask returning to his elite level, or if it’s just a hot streak in the middle of the season. A few years ago Rask was one of the top goaltenders in the NHL but had seen his overall production drop to more of a league average level. Still solid enough. Still good enough to win with. But not quite at the same standard he had set for himself earlier in his career. Part of that drop in production could be attributed to a weaker defense in front of him in recent years, and that aspect of the team has improved decidedly over the past two years with the development of youngsters Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy.

With that improvement on defense, the elite trio of forwards dominating the way they are and a returning-to-form Rask the Bruins could become a pretty fierce contender in the Eastern Conference very quickly.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.