WASHINGTON -- There are three key reasons for the Bruins' turnaround the last few games. One has been the strong play of goaltender Tim Thomas, the second is the much-improved play in the defensive zone, and the third is the contribution of the top line, center Patrice Bergeron, left wing Marco Sturm, and right wing Brad Boyes.
With last night's win over the Capitals at the MCI Center, the trio has combined for 15 points (7 goals) in the last four games, while the Bruins have picked up 7 points with three wins and a shootout loss.
''It's a bit of everything," said Boyes, who had what turned out to be the winning goal last night. ''Chemistry definitely plays a big role. There have been so many line combinations throughout the whole year and this one is going really well. When you're feeling comfortable and things are going well, you know where the other guy is, that's where a lot of the offense will come from."
Boyes said it helped immensely that he and Bergeron played together all last year during the lockout for Providence.
''I know from my standpoint it did," said Boyes. ''Just to see the way he plays. I had a whole year of seeing him and I was also on the power play and we played together there. We had a kind of feel for each other and I think that helped a lot."
The duo this season has had several left wings -- Sergei Samsonov, P.J. Axelsson, and Brad Isbister as well as Sturm -- but Sturm's speed and anticipation have meshed the best.
''Everyone has been rotating through," said Boyes. ''We kind of had to with all the injuries. Everyone kind of had to fill in and mix things around and shuffle things up."
Boyes, whose second-period strike gave Boston a 3-0 lead, would like to have more goals; he has 11 in 48 games. Bergeron and Sturm have combined for several goals on odd-man rushes, some of which were sprung by Boyes.
''They're playing well -- it's great," said Boyes. ''I have to try to help them out a little more. Those guys have been really stepping up and playing well. They've been a real big contributor to our success and our ability to get points as of late."
With the recent, albeit modest upswing, Boyes said the atmosphere has changed around the team.
''Definitely, it's more upbeat," he said. ''When you win and things go well, guys feel better and it's a lot better coming to the rink instead of being down all the time and coming in and things aren't going well."