Bruins showing real fight during hot streak

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During an 82-game season, rattling off five straight wins only means so much.

Luckily, for the Boston Bruins, their winning ways go deeper than this current run, which continued with a 5-1 win against the Ottawa Senators, not allowing the holiday break to ruin focus. They’ve been scoring at a high rate during much of this run, too, even as Tuukka Rask heats up.

Dec. 18: 7-2 win home against the Blue Jackets.
Dec. 19: 3-0 win on the road versus Sabres.
Dec. 21: 2-1 shootout victory at home against Jets.
Dec. 23: 3-1 win at home against Red Wings.
Tonight: 5-1 home win vs. Senators.

It has to be refreshing for the Bruins to enjoy strong games from guys not named Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, or David Pastrnak. Those three went without a point against the Senators, but supporting cast members carried the torch, with Riley Nash‘s two-goal, one-assist performance leading the way.

David Backes might be the most unexpected part of this most recent run.

Not long after frightening surgery that forced him to lose significant weight, Backes is on a roll. The 33-year-old has three goals and four assists for seven points during this five-game winning streak.

(Beyond that, the Bruins aren’t just about finesse, as you can see from the video above this post’s headline.)

Again, this isn’t just about a five-game winning streak, though.

The Bruins have been on a tear since a 4-2 loss to the Ducks on Nov. 15, which dropped the B’s to 6-7-4. They’ve gone 14-3-1 since then, leaving them at 20-10-5. More and more, it seems like they’ll lock down one round of home-ice advantage, as they now match the Maple Leafs with 45 standings points despite playing in two fewer games than Toronto.

About the only thing the Bruins can complain about is that the Tampa Bay Lightning are in their division. As hot as Boston is, they remain nine points behind the blistering Bolts for the lead in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.

Considering how much the Bruins struggled to merely make the playoffs in 2016-17, such concerns feel like small quibbles. Either way, this team looks like it could be a factor once again in the East.

Or at least they won’t go down without a fight.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.