A month after getting ‘embarrassed’ by Jets, Bruins exact revenge against Winnipeg

Bruins

“We don’t like losing twice to a team. We don’t like losing twice in a row.”

Jake DeBrusk and the Bruins have now won five games in a row. (Danielle Parhizkaran/Globe Staff)

Jim Montgomery didn’t need to craft a pregame speech on Monday evening.

Sometimes, it’s a necessity during the dog days of an 82-game marathon to keep a room full of players locked in.

But against the Winnipeg Jets, all Montgomery needed to do was let the game tape roll from Dec. 22.

A Bruins team anchored by elite goaltending and plenty of star talent has rarely found itself run out of the rink. 

But in Boston’s first meeting with the Jets up at Canada Life Centre, Montgomery and the Bruins served as Rick Bowness’ punching bag. The final score marked a 5-1 Jets victory, but it felt far more lopsided. 

Monday’s rematch served as an anticipated bout between two of the top teams in the Eastern and Western Conferences.

But the standings meant little to a Bruins dressing room well-aware of the beatdown that doled out just a month ago.

“They embarrassed us the last time we were in Winnipeg,” Montgomery noted. “And we have a lot of proud guys that have represented the Bruins for a long time and I think the opportunity to get back at them was something that was motivating.”

Fair to say, the Bruins didn’t need any extra spark on Causeway Street.

In the midst of the best stretch of hockey that Boston has played all year, it submitted arguably its most complete effort against the Jets on Monday en route to a 4-1 victory.

The Bruins have now won five straight, and have collected points in nine consecutive games.

“We don’t like losing twice to a team,” Jeremy Swayman, who stopped 21 of the 22 shots that came his way, said. “We don’t like losing twice in a row. And the momentum that we had from the last game and the start of this homestand is something that we wanted to continue. As you saw — first through the last whistle — excellent Bruins hockey.”

The Bruins’ defensive structure has been prone to some uncharacteristic lapses at times this season.

But a healthy blue line following the returns of Brandon Carlo and Derek Forbort — coupled with the continued strides of Parker Wotherspoon on the third pair — has yielded stronger returns.

Through the first two periods of play on Monday, the Bruins held a commanding 8-0 advantage in high-danger scoring chances during 5v5 play.

Winnipeg made an expected push over the final frame with four high-danger scoring bids, but Swayman stood tall as Boston extended a one-goal lead with late-game tallies from Jake DeBrusk and Brad Marchand. 

“They’re very good defensively and you know that it’s gonna be a tight game, no matter if you’re up or you’re down,” DeBrusk said of Winnipeg’s roster. “Obviously, we had some good looks. I think there were a couple plays to the netfront that we were very close on, but they got a great goaltender, too. They pushed, we just had to try and simplify our game and just try to capitalize on any chance we could get.”

Boston’s habit of relinquishing late leads (especially in empty-net situations) has quieted as of late. Down the other end of the ice, a reworked forward corps is finally clicking.

For all of the concerns regarding Boston’s scoring output following several key departures last summer, the Bruins are now averaging 4.42 goals per game since the holiday break — a stretch of 14 contests.

A nine-goal salvo — featuring 16 players recording a point— was impressive on Saturday night against a woeful Montreal roster.

But finding the back of the net four times against Winnipeg might have been an even more sizable achievement. As noted by The Athletic’s Murat Ates, Monday marked the first time that Winnipeg surrendered four or more goals in regulation since Nov. 2 — a span of 34 straight games. 

“There’s gonna be waves and flows in the season,” DeBrusk noted. “And obviously this year there’s lots of talk [about] our team at the beginning of the year — about how we’re going to deal with losing everybody, the adversity. …. I mean, nine goals is obviously the anomaly. 

“But I think tonight’s more of a night where it kind of shows our identity and what we can do even in tight games against the best defensive team in the league. Obviously we played them in Winnipeg, and they embarrassed us so we wanted to come out and score a couple on them, to be honest with you.”

A convincing win in Game 46 of 82 will not hold significant sway over a team’s overall fortunes.

But for a Bruins team fixated on building their game ahead of the spring, there was plenty to like out on the ice Monday night.

“I think that’s playoff hockey to be honest,” DeBrusk said of Monday’s win. “I mean, obviously it’s probably not as physical or intense, but tight checking and close scores are what you’re gonna be seeing when it counts. So I think that any time you can [gain] any ground in the sense of getting confidence from winning these types of games, I think it really helps everybody in the group.”