By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Word to the wise: Don’t get into a power-play battle with the Bruins. You will not enjoy it.
Even when you think you put the B’s on the ropes.
With Bruins defensemen Brandon Carlo in Colorado to attend to a personal matter and Jeremy Lauzon booted from the game by way of a match penalty for a hit to the head of o Derek Stepan, Phil Kessel and the Coyotes took advantage of a winded Zdeno Chara to put Arizona on the board almost four minutes into their five-minute opportunity.
Kessel’s goal, his 12th of the season, came as a result of an attempt clear from Chara that went right to his stick and through Tuukka Rask at the 3:26 mark of the second period.
But Lawson Crouse’s decision to go eye-for-eye and hammer Charlie McAvoy up high sparked the Coyotes’ undoing, as it marked the start of a power-play demolition that powered the Bruins to sixth straight win, 4-2 at TD Garden.
With the Bruins hemming the shorthanded Coyotes in their own zone on their first power-play chance after the Kessel goal, it was a pair of backhand passes — from David Krejci to McAvoy and then to Charlie Coyle — that got the B’s on the board, as Coyle beat Arizona’s Adin Hill for their first goal of the afternoon. While the goal would not officially count as a power-play goal for the Bruins, it came with the team’s second unit on the ice, and just two seconds after the opportunity expired.
Then Patrice Bergeron scored seven seconds into Boston’s next power-play chance, and Jake DeBrusk put a deflection of his own through Hill 22 seconds into their third chance of the period to put the Bruins up by two through 40 minutes of action.
But the night would not be complete without a big third period from Rask, who turned aside nine of the 10 third-period shots thrown his way, and finished with 29 saves on 31 shots for his 20th victory of the season.
The win also extended Rask’s home point streak to 18 games (12-0-6), which is now the longest home point streak to begin a season in franchise history, beating Gilles Gilbert’s franchise-record 17-game stretch from way back in 1973-74.
B’s defenseman John Moore, meanwhile, returned to the Boston lineup after five straight healthy scratches, and finished with three hits and three blocked shots in 22:58 of action by the night’s end.
With another win over the Coyotes to their name, the B’s have now defeated Arizona in 16 straight games dating back to 2010, which ties them with the Lightning (over the Red Wings) for the longest active win streak against one opponent.
This run of back-to-backs will continue, too, as Bruins will head to Detroit for a Sunday matinee against the Red Wings. And while the Red Wings have been an absolute nightmare this season (they have a league-worst 30 points and minus-97 goal differential in what has been a complete teardown of a year in Detroit), they do enter this head-to-head with wins in four straight against the Bruins dating back to last year, including a Nov. 8 win in the Motor City.