The Boston Bruins finally lost a game in regulation. The 3-1 defeat to the Anaheim Ducks last night at home put an end to an 18 game streak where the Bruins won 14 games and only lost the other 4 in overtime. The incredible streak has vaulted Boston to the top of the NHL and has the team gearing up to make a run at the Stanley Cup.

The surprising success comes on the heels of what was supposed to be a rebuilding season in Boston. The team had major salary cap issues left over from previous general manager Peter Chiarelli and several stars were traded to restock the farm system.

The team moved on from several older or high priced players. Gone were longtime forward Milan Lucic and rising defensive star Dougie Hamilton. The return was a plethora of draft picks that allowed Boston to hit reset on their salary cap issues to an extent.

What Boston didn't expect is to hit on so many of their recent draft picks so soon. Several players are already playing key roles in the Bruins success this season, with several more in the coming pipeline.

The future is indeed bright for Boston. Mainly thanks to several standout performers.

Danton Heinen

The biggest surprise for the Bruins this year has been the sudden emergence of Danton Heinen.

the 2014 4th round draft pick was a long shot to make the team out of training camp, but he persevered. After a brief early-season stint in the minors, Heinen has exploded on offense. His 33 points are tops for rookies on the team and he projects to get close to 50 points by season's end.

Not bad for a kid that wasn't expected to even be on the team this year.

Jake Debrusk

Like Heinen, Jake Debrusk is enjoying a breakout season as well. He also has 11 goals and could reach 20 if he stays in the lineup.

There have been a few games where he has been a healthy scratch, but the young kid has shown great maturity.

Where some players will go in the tank after a benching, Debrusk took the time to refocus and refuel his game. The result is he is contributing much more and the Bruins are looking like they found a solid player for the long haul.

Charlie McAvoy

The Bruins knew they found a good one when they drafted Charlie McAvoy in the first round. However, when they inserted him into the lineup during the playoffs last season, there were worries that he might be over his head competition wise.

Instead, McAvoy flourished and showed exactly why Boston sees him as the next Ray Bourque. His offensive ability is only matched by his defensive IQ. The kid has played more like a grizzled veteran as he has already claimed his rightful spot on the first line that will likely be his for years to come.

Who's next?

There are already several more young players that are showing they have what it takes to play in the NHL. Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk has supplanted longtime Bruin Adam McQuaid after subbing in for an injury and playing so well that coach Bruce Cassidy had to keep him in.

There is also recent first-round draft picks, Zach Senyshyn and Jakub Zboril that should be with the big club sooner than later.

Zboril is projected to be a top 4 defenseman while Senyshyn was considered to be more of a raw prospect but with a very high ceiling on offense.

The future is indeed bright in Boston. They managed to rebuild without tearing the whole team down and that should have them set up pretty well going into the next several seasons.