BOSTON -- Bruins top-line forward Jarome Iginla is playing his most consistent hockey of the season, and, when asked about his recent success, the future Hall of Famer credited the team’s play rather than focus on his own game.
The right winger has three goals and eight assists for 11 points in the past six games, including a plus-nine rating. It’s also no coincidence the Bruins are 7-1-1 in their past nine games, as Iginla and fellow first-liners David Krejci and Milan Lucic are producing.
"I think, as a team, we’re playing well," Iginla said. "We’re playing with the puck a lot more as a group, we’re creating a lot more zone time and scoring chances and guys are feeling good.
"We're all starting to feel a lot better, and I think for a while we’ve been playing better as a team, and I think we’re all benefiting from that. As a line, we’re feeling better, but, I think also, as a team, we’re creating a lot more for each other and playing a lot more with the puck, and we’ve been in a pretty solid stretch up until this Olympic break here."
When the Bruins signed the veteran forward as a free agent during the summer, they knew his presence both on and off the ice would contribute to the team’s success. He has made the players around him better, especially his linemates.
So far, Krejci has enjoyed probably his most consistent regular season, and the same can be said for Lucic, who has three goals and four assists for seven points in the past three games. It’s evident Iginla’s work ethic has rubbed off on both of them.
During Tuesday’s 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks, Iginla registered his 600th career NHL assist. Entering Thursday’s game against the St. Louis Blues, Iginla has 1,146 points in 1,287 career games.
Iginla admitted after Tuesday’s game that he did not realize he had reached that milestone.
"To be honest, I didn’t know that going in, but I’m thankful for that," he said. "You don’t really think of those until you get there or whatever. I’m just thankful to keep playing as long as I have, and I’m having a great time and it’s awesome to be here with these guys. It was fun to get it in a game against Vancouver for a lot of reasons. It was an important win and we also wanted to rebound from earlier in the season against them, too."
Even Bruins coach Claude Julien didn’t realize Iginla had produced 600 assists.
"Good for him. It just kind of exemplifies the type of career that he’s had and that he’s still having," Julien said. "He’s been a great player in this league for a long time, so you always like to see those kind of goals being accomplished. And in my mind, he’s got lots more left."