The Boston Bruins scored two goals in the opening 2:45 of the first period and spent the remaining 57:15 hanging on for dear life in a gutsy, 2-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night.
Given what the Bruins are currently dealing with — they’re missing five of their six defensemen from Opening Night and first-line center Patrice Bergeron has flown back to Boston with an upper-body injury — Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy will take it.
“Well it’s the way you win — you win a close checking, low scoring game,” Cassidy said after the victory. “Yeah, we made some mistakes at the back end with the young group, but they bounced back and did a real nice job.”
Boston’s first goal came off the stick of Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, and was good for the Swedish center’s first NHL goal.
“It’s nice to get the first one,” Forsbacka Karlsson, who finished the game with 10:37 of time on ice, said. “When you don’t start thinking about it; when the game gets going, it’s nice to get that out of the way. Hopefully we can keep going from there.”
The Bruins got their second goal when Brad Marchand created offense end-to-end, and allowed Jake DeBrusk to finish the play off with a simple putaway putt for his eighth goal of the season. It was the highlight of what finished as a forward-leading 21:37 night from No. 63 (4:25 of which came with the Bruins on the penalty kill), along with four shots on goal.
And given the nonsense that surrounded Marchand’s night in Dallas the night before, Cassidy couldn’t help but absolutely love the bounceback performance from Boston’s most important and dynamic three-zone winger.
“I love [Brad Marchand]’s leadership on the bench and his chatter in the room,” Cassidy said of Boston’s favorite agitator. “They contributed a big goal, big penalty kill at the end, buzzing up there and disrupting the flow of them. So, really pleased with his effort after last night. He was frustrated and tonight he was just really focused on being the best player in the NHL.”
But their efforts would have gone to waste had it not been for the play of Jaroslav Halak, who more than bounced back from his rough outing in Colorado on Wednesday, with stops on all but one of the 33 shots thrown his way by the night’s end. Halak also came through with nine stops with the Black and Gold short a man, including a finish that saw the Bruins outmanned 6-4.
“Putting the puck in the net,” Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet said when asked what his team didn’t do in the losing effort. “I mean you make a pass and shoot and score. We had our chances. I don’t know what else to say.”
In other words, the Coyotes got Halak’d.
The Bruins will conclude their three-game road swing Wednesday night in Detroit.