By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Bruins will ride into the bye week on a positive note, as Bruce Cassidy's squad rebounded from blowing a three-goal lead on Sunday with a 3-2 comeback win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night at TD Garden.
"Our guys are good that way, and I think the way we finished in Pittsburgh probably gave us a bit more focus," Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said of the team's effort in the win. "Who knows, if that had been a clean game and we just, you know, ran it, and like we did the other night, play solid from start to finish, who knows? Maybe they would’ve started to wander because there is a little content. So, I think it was two things: those guys are professional in there. I thought yesterday’s practice was hard and good and good compete, so they understood that we’re not going to ride it into the streak; every game is important, and again, the Pittsburgh result probably didn’t sit that well with some guys, and typically when that happens, the next game, you’re ready to go, and I thought we were in the first, ready to play."
It didn't take long for the Bruins to find themselves in a hole this time around, either, as Golden Knights forward Mark Stone snuck a chance through Jaroslav Halak just 1:24 into the first period, and on their first shot of the night.
This marked the second straight time that Halak had surrendered a goal on the first shot he faced on Garden ice after Sidney Crosby pounded one through No. 41 in last Thursday's meeting in Boston.
But the Bruins would respond at the 11:40 mark of the first, and off the stick of Jeremy Lauzon and through traffic that had the Knights' Marc-Andre Fleury clueless. The strike was good for the second goal of Lauzon's NHL career, and with both of his NHL tallies to this point coming against the Golden Knights (he scored his first goal on Nov. 11, 2018).
@jeremylauzon21 made his presence felt. #NHLBruins https://t.co/KhYzteDrIQ
Vegas regained control in the second period, however, on an absolute bullet from Nicholas Hague at 10:59.
The goal was the first of Hague's NHL career, and gave the Golden Knights a 2-1 lead through 40 minutes.
In search of the game-tying goal in the third period, Jake DeBrusk finally got a bounce to go his way off an aggressive play from Halak, and whipped his 15th goal of the year through Fleury for a 2-2 tie just 4:26 into the final frame.
Then came some vintage David Krejci hand-eye coordination to give the B's a lead on a putaway off a Brandon Carlo shot through traffic.
Bouncing our way. #NHLBruins https://t.co/WBvHZCfk2u
"That’s his kind of goal," Cassidy said of the DeBrusk goal. "He can separate and shoot in stride and shoot it past a goalie. What happened in the second period there, looked like there was a few net-front opportunities for three or four guys who weren’t able to finish. We talked about that between periods, you will get some rebounds from Fleury, and you’ve got to work to get inside and [David] Krejci gets one going there, and I think [Anton] Blidh had a chance and a few others. Eventually we stuck with it. But good for Jake, that got everyone excited and that’s something he can bring and has been of late."
The Bruins would go on to weather the storm and protect their lead over the final 7:42 of the third period, as Halak finished with 27 saves for his 12th win of the season, while Fleury made 34 stops in a losing effort.
B's agitator Anton Blidh made his season debut and finished with one shot and three hits in 9:45 of action. Lauzon, meanwhile, finished with the aforementioned goal, two shots, four hits, and a block in 15:38 of play.
One damper for the Bruins in this one? The continued struggles of their power-play units, which finished the night 0-for-5, and is now 0 for their last 16 opportunities.
Between the league's all-star break and their own bye week, the Bruins will get the next nine days away from the rink before returning to action Jan. 31 against the Jets.