Charlie Coyle scored two goals in the Boston Bruins’, 4-2, victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden– extending Boston’s winning streak to six-games in the process.
In the meantime, Arizona has not defeated the Bruins in their last 16 meetings.
Tuukka Rask (20-4-6 record, 2.15 goals against average, .930 save percentage in 31 games played) stopped 29 out of 31 shots faced for a .935 SV% in the win for Boston.
The Bruins goaltender improved to 12-0-6 at TD Garden this season, which is the best home point streak record to start a season in B’s franchise history– surpassing Gilles Gilbert’s record set in the 1970-71 season.
Only Bill Durnan (25 games with a point in 1943-44 with the Montreal Canadiens) and Tony Esposito (20 games with a point in 1970-71 with the Chicago Blackhawks) had longer point streaks in NHL history.
Rask is now tied with Evgeny Nabokov (18-game point streak in 2008-09 with the San Jose Sharks), Ken Dryden (18-game point streak in 1978-79 with the Canadiens) and Billy Smith (18-game point streak in 1977-78 with the New York Islanders).
Coyotes goaltender, Adin Hill (2-3-2, 2.54 GAA, .918 SV% in 11 games played), made 29 saves on 32 shots against for a .906 SV% in the loss.
Boston improved to 34-10-12 (80 points) on the season and remain atop the NHL standings, as well as the Atlantic Division, while Arizona fell to 27-23-7 (61 points) and stuck in 4th place in the Pacific Division.
The B’s also improved to 19-2-9 at home this season and have won seven out of their last eight games.
The last time the Bruins lost to the Coyotes was on Oct. 9, 2010, when both teams opened the 2010-11 season with a pair of games against each other in Prague, Czech Republic. Boston lost the first game, 5-2, on Oct. 9th before defeating the then known as Phoenix Coyotes, 3-0, on Oct. 10th.
The Bruins were without the services of Kevan Miller (knee), Connor Clifton (upper body), Joakim Nordstrom (allergy complications) and Brandon Carlo (personal leave) on Saturday.
Danton Heinen served as the only healthy scratch for Boston against the Coyotes.
Clifton participated in practice with the rest of the team, but in a red non-contact sweater, while Nordstrom and Carlo are expected to join the rest of the team in Detroit on Sunday (with Carlo at least being re-inserted into the lineup).
As a result of Carlo’s personal matters, John Moore was the only change to Bruce Cassidy’s lineup from Wednesday night’s, 2-1, overtime win in Chicago to Saturday afternoon’s meeting with Arizona.
Moore was paired with Torey Krug on the second defensive pairing for Boston.
Meanwhile, Karson Kuhlman and Jeremy Lauzon were reassigned to the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Thursday and subsequently recalled on Friday in a paper transaction for salary cap related purposes.
Prior to the game, Boston honored their captain, Zdeno Chara, for having surpassed 1,500 career NHL games played and 1,000 career games played as a Bruin earlier in the season.
Midway through the opening frame, Charlie McAvoy hooked Taylor Hall and was sent to the penalty box with a minor infraction at 9:09 of the first period.
The Coyotes did not convert on their first power play opportunity of the afternoon.
Late in the first period, Conor Garland presented the Bruins with their first skater advantage of the game after Garland caught Chara with a high stick at 14:06.
The B’s did not score on the ensuing power play.
Moments later, Lauzon unintentionally returned the favor and caught Vinnie Hinostroza with a high stick at 17:27– yielding a power play to Arizona, but the Coyotes weren’t able to capitalize on their second power play of the game.
Less than 20 seconds after getting out of the box, Lauzon charged down the ice in a race for a loose puck that Derek Stepan got to first, then delivered a miscalculated check on the vulnerable Arizona skater and was assessed a match penalty for an illegal hit to the head at 19:39 of the first period.
The Coyotes earned a five-minute major power play as a result that would carry over into the second period as the horn sounded on the opening frame with the score still tied, 0-0.
Boston led in shots on goal (9-6), blocked shots (7-4), takeaways (3-2) and faceoff win percentage (58-42), while Arizona led in giveaways (6-0) and hits (8-7) after 20 minutes of play.
Entering the first intermission, the Coyotes were 0/3 on the power play and the B’s were 0/1.
Boston almost made it the full five minutes without allowing a power play goal against until Phil Kessel (12) kicked off the game’s scoring with a garbage goal off a rebound to give Arizona the, 1-0, lead at 3:26 of the second period.
Kessel’s goal was unassisted and marked the 15th time this season that the Bruins gave up the game’s first goal on home ice.
A little over a minute later, Lawson Crouse was guilty of roughing McAvoy when he delivered a quick shot to the head while skating by at 4:46.
Seconds after their power play ended, Boston scored on a beautiful setup when David Krejci dropped a short pass back to McAvoy, who then managed to send a quick backhand pass over to Coyle (11) for the one-timed redirection from point-blank to tie the game, 1-1.
McAvoy (20) and Krejci (26) had the assists on Coyle’s first goal of the game at 6:50 of the second period.
Midway through the middle frame, Brad Richardson bumped into Chris Wagner without the puck and was charged with an interference minor at 11:59.
This time around, Boston was successful at capitalizing on the skater advantage as Patrice Bergeron won the faceoff to Brad Marchand, which led to Marchand tossing the puck back to the point whereby Krug corralled the puck and sent it across the blue line to David Pastrnak for the purposeful shot to the slot where Bergeron (23) outstretched his blade for the redirection goal to give the Bruins their first lead of the day, 2-1.
Pastrnak (38) and Krug (31) tallied the assists on Bergeron’s power play goal at 12:06 of the second period.
About a couple minutes later, Niklas Hjalmarsson hooked Wagner and was assessed a minor penalty at 14:13.
This time the Bruins took a few extra seconds before hitting the back of the twine on a Jake DeBrusk (18) tip-in from the doorstep off of another shot from Pastrnak from the faceoff circle.
Pastrnak (39) and Bergeron (22) notched the assists on DeBrusk’s power play goal and the B’s led, 3-1, at 14:35.
Through 40 minutes of play on Saturday, the Bruins led, 3-1, on the scoreboard and shots on goal were even, 21-21. Boston also held the advantage in blocked shots (11-7), takeaways (5-2) and hits (14-12), while Arizona led in giveaways (10-2) and faceoff win% (56-44).
The Coyotes were 1/4 on the skater advantage, while Boston was 2/4 on the power play heading into the third period.
Just 26 seconds into the third period, Jakob Chychrun (11) sent a shot off of Rask’s glove and into the twine– cutting Boston’s lead in half to just one goal.
Clayton Keller (22) and Hinostroza (15) notched the assists on Chychrun’s goal.
Until about 1:40 remaining in regulation, both teams swapped chances, but neither team committed a penalty nor scored a goal.
With less than two minutes left in the game, Coyotes head coach, Rick Tocchet, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker, but it was not enough for Boston’s defensive efforts in their own zone as Coyle (12) cleared a loose puck from his own end down the ice and into the open twine at 19:11 of the third period.
Bergeron (23) recorded the only assist on Coyle’s empty net goal and the Bruins secured the, 4-2, win against Arizona as a result.
At the final horn, Boston finished the afternoon leading in shots on goal (33-31), blocked shots (15-12), hits (21-15) and faceoff win% (52-48).
Arizona, meanwhile, led in giveaways (14-5) and finished the game 1/4 on the power play.
The B’s went 2/4 on the skater advantage on Saturday and improved to 10-1-6 when tied after one period, as well as 18-1-6 when leading after two periods this season.
Boston travels to Detroit to face the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon before returning home for a two-game homestand against the Montreal Canadiens next Wednesday (Feb. 12th) and Red Wings next Saturday (Feb. 15th) before going on a four-game road trip with stops against the New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks.