Four unanswered goals in the second period– including two goals from Brad Marchand (2-1–3 totals), a goal from David Pastrnak (1-2–3 totals) and three assists from David Krejci (0-3–3 totals)– led to a, 4-3, comeback victory for the Boston Bruins over the Arizona Coyotes at TD Garden Tuesday night.
The last time the Boston lost to Arizona, the Coyotes were still known as the Phoenix Coyotes. In fact, the Bruins have now won 14 games in-a-row against Arizona in the regular season– dating back to October 9, 2010.
That game back in 2010 was played in… Prague, Czech Republic, of course. In fact, it was the first game of the 2010-11 season for Boston, which led to the franchise’s 2011 Stanley Cup championship that season.
Among other longest active-win streaks, the Washington Capitals have beaten the Bruins in their last 13 regular season matchups and the Tampa Bay Lightning have done the same to the Detroit Red Wings.
Tuukka Rask (8-6-2 record, 2.53 goals against average, .916 save percentage in 16 games played) made 30 saves on 33 shots against for a .909 SV% in the win for the B’s.
Meanwhile, Arizona goaltender, Darcy Kuemper (4-6-2, 2.82 GAA, .909 SV% in 12 GP) made 22 saves on 28 shots faced for a .909 SV% in the loss.
Boston improved to 17-10-4 (38 points) on the season– good enough to remain 4th in the Atlantic Division as the 3rd-place Buffalo Sabres defeated the Los Angeles Kings, 4-3, in overtime on Tuesday.
The Coyotes fell to 13-14-2 (28 points) on the season and remain four points ahead of the Kings in 7th place in the Pacific Division.B
Earlier in the day on Tuesday, Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy gave an update on Jake DeBrusk, Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron.
DeBrusk is considered “day-to-day” and spent Tuesday seeing a specialist, while Chara and Bergeron resumed skating on their own.
Cassidy made no changes to his lineup from Sunday’s win in overtime against the Ottawa Senators for Tuesday night’s matchup with the Coyotes and gave Rask his second start in-a-row.
Joining Bergeron, Chara and DeBrusk on the injured list out of the lineup were Urho Vaakanainen (concussion) and Kevan Miller (throat). Noel Acciari and Jeremy Lauzon were, once again, healthy scratches against Arizona and watched the game from the press box on level nine at TD Garden.
Clayton Keller was charged with the game’s first penalty– a double minor– for high-sticking Bruins defender, Charlie McAvoy, at 2:54 of the first period.
Despite having an extended power play, Boston was not able to convert on the skater advantage and the Coyotes’ league-best penalty kill was able to escape without harm while being shorthanded.
Midway through the period, Matt Grzelcyk hooked Keller in Arizona’s offensive zone, leading to a Coyotes power play at 10:31.
Late on the ensuing skater advantage, Nick Schmaltz (6) ripped a shot off the post on the short side that bounced off of the back of Rask’s leg and into the net to give Arizona the 1-0 lead.
Schmaltz’s power play goal was assisted by Oliver Ekman-Larsson (14) and Keller (13) at 12:22 of the opening frame.
Just 40 seconds later, Nick Cousins (3) fired a shot that deflected off of Boston defender, John Moore, and went past Rask on the short side to give the Coyotes a two-goal lead, 2-0.
Alex Goligoski (9) and Josh Archibald (4) notched the assist’s on Cousins’ goal at 13:02 and players with the first name “Nick” were wild (you see, because both goals in the game up to that point were scored by a player named “Nick something”).
With 3:31 remaining in the first period, Ekman-Larsson got checked by David Backes in the low slot in Boston’s offensive zone. While Ekman-Larsson was falling to the ice, his skate caught Backes in the face and appeared to cause harm as Backes quickly grabbed his face with his glove and sprinted off the ice, presumably to stop bleeding.
Backes went down the tunnel for repairs and returned prior to the start of the second period with what looked like only a minor scab below the nose.
Getting a skate to the face certainly could’ve been much worse and as scary as it looked, thankfully it wasn’t that bad in the long run.
After 20 minutes of play, the Coyotes led, 2-0, on the scoreboard and trailed the Bruins, 12-7, in shots on goal. Arizona held onto the advantage in blocked shots (4-0) and takeaways (6-2) after one period, while Boston led in giveaways (7-2), hits (12-7) and face-off win percentage (61-39).
Entering the first intermission, Arizona was 1/1 on the power play, while Boston was 0/2.
Almost midway through the second period, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson rushed into the offensive zone and sent a pass through the low slot to Danton Heinen (4) whereby Heinen kicked the puck from his skate to his stick before firing a shot past Kuemper.
Heinen’s goal put the B’s on the board and cut the Coyotes lead in half, 2-1, as Forsbacka Karlsson (1) and Ryan Donato (2) were credited with the assists at 8:40 of the second period.
Keeping up with Arizona’s fashion of quick goals, David Pastrnak (21) tabbed the tying goal 33 seconds after Heinen scored to make it, 2-2.
Brad Marchand worked the puck to Pastrnak while the young Bruins winger was flying towards the crease in order to redirect the puck a la Mark Recchi back in his prime past Kuemper just as No. 88 stopped before the blue paint in time.
Marchand (22) and David Krejci (20) picked up the primary and secondary assists on Pastrnak’s goal at 9:13 of the second period.
It wouldn’t take long before Boston scored again, as Marchand (9) gave the Bruins their first lead of the night, 3-2, at 11:31.
Krejci sent the puck to Pastrnak as Pastrnak faked a one-timer and instead sent a slap pass to No. 63 in black-and-gold for the redirection into the twine.
Pastrnak (16) and Krejci (21) had the assists on the B’s third goal in 2:51.
Moments later, Marchand (10) added his second goal of the night– and Boston’s fourth unanswered goal– at 13:30 of the second period as Pastrnak’s initial curl and drag turned pass to Krejci left Kuemper scrambling in the crease.
While Kuemper was out of position, Krejci’s initial pass to Marchand didn’t connect, though the veteran Bruins left winger remained in the slot for the second chance and batted the loose puck past the Arizona netminder on a backhand to make it, 4-2, Boston.
Krejci (22) had his third assist of the game and Pastrnak (17) picked up his third point (and second assist) of the game as the Bruins began to pull away from the Coyotes.
Late in the second period, after Moore mishandled the puck along the wall behind his own net and Rask tried to get a glove on the loose puck, Michael Bunting (1) tapped in the free standing rubber biscuit to pull Arizona to within one-goal.
Bunting’s goal was his first career National Hockey League goal in what was also his NHL debut at 15:00 of the second period and made it, 4-3.
He had 6-12–18 totals in 20 games with the Tucson Roadrunners (AHL) prior to his NHL debut on Tuesday night and ended a run of four unanswered goals by the Bruins with his goal.
Through two periods of play, Boston led, 4-3.
Arizona led in shots on goal (24-21) after outshooting the B’s (17-9) in the second period alone. The Coyotes also led in takeaways (9-3) after 40 minutes of play.
Meanwhile, the B’s led in giveaways (14-6), hits (21-19) and face-off win% (60-40) entering the second intermission. Both teams recorded seven blocked shots apiece and the Coyotes were still 1/1 on the power play, while Boston was 0/2.
Almost midway through the third period, Arizona blue liner, Jakob Chychrun was charged with a holding infraction against Bruins forward, Joakim Nordstrom at 8:50 of the third.
Boston did not convert on the ensuing power play and would finish the night 0/3 on the skater advantage as a result.
Late in the third period, Moore tripped up Jordan Oesterle and sent the Coyotes on their second power play of the game, but Arizona couldn’t muster a goal on the ensuing skater advantage at 14:11.
Arizona finished the night .500 on the power play (1/2) as a result.
With 1:36 remaining in regulation, the Coyotes used their only timeout during a stoppage in play to draw up a strategy to force overtime.
Seconds later, with 1:15 left on the clock, Kuemper vacated his crease for an extra attacker, but Arizona could not put the puck past Rask as neither team scored in the third period.
At the final horn, Boston secured the win, 4-3, despite Arizona leading in shots on goal, 33-26, after 60 minutes of play.
The Bruins led in just about every other category, however, holding the advantage in blocked shots (15-9), giveaways (20-9), hits (29-24) and face-off win% (59-41).
Despite scoring the game’s first goal, Arizona fell to 11-4-1 when scoring first this season.
On the plus-side for the Coyotes, their eight power play goals against is still the fewest in the NHL, having shutout the Bruins on all three special teams opportunities.
For Boston, Rask improved to 43-18-9 in the month of December in his career, while Krejci’s three-point night came in his 800th career NHL game.
The Bruins travel to PPG Paints Arena for a Friday night matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins, then return home for a Sunday evening (5 p.m. ET puck drop) square dance with the Buffalo Sabres.
Boston hits the road for another back-to-back game in Montreal against the Canadiens next Monday (Dec. 17th) before returning for a two-game homestand starting next Thursday (Dec. 20th) against the Anaheim Ducks and concluding next Saturday (Dec. 22nd) against the Nashville Predators.