Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Nov 22, 2023; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Derek Forbort (28) and goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) celebrate after winning the game against the Florida Panthers at Amerant Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Every single win counts for just two points in the standings — and the Bruins have already stacked ’em up at the same pace they did during last year’s historic regular-season run — but some wins just feel like they count for more.

Wednesday night in Sunrise certainly felt that way, as the Bruins overcame yet another rocky start but ultimately dug deep to find the difference-making tallies in both the first and second period of a 3-1 win over the Panthers.

The first goal on the Panthers’ Sergei Bobrovsky served as a much-needed pressure relief valve of sorts with the Bruins on their heels — both from a shots-on-goal standpoint and physical standpoint — while the club’s second-period tallies showed the team’s ability to respond and keep grinding even with their ‘B’ game.

  • In a way, this is exactly how these Bruins are built. They’re not the juggernaut they were a year ago despite the record they’ve posted out of the gate this season, and they lean more opportunistic than dominant. The ‘survivalist’ wins are going to be on the rise this season, and it’s really about this team’s ability to truly close a game out by any means necessary once they get the lead. That was an obvious issue Monday night in Tampa, but on Wednesday, it truly felt like the Bruins were in their bag in a lockdown third period that saw them surrender just six shots on goal, largely on the back of their bottom-six forward group’s strong push and finale.

    And it was yet another strong bounce-back from the Bruins following a loss, as the team is now 4-0-0 in their first game after suffering a loss in the previous outing.

    These are things that truly matter beyond the additional two points banked away.

    Here are the 98.5 The Sports Hub (dot com) 3 Stars from Sunrise…

  • No. 3 Star: Charlie Coyle

    Nov 22, 2023; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Florida Panthers center Anton Lundell (15) and Boston Bruins center Charlie Coyle (13) face-off during the first period at Amerant Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 22, 2023; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Florida Panthers center Anton Lundell (15) and Boston Bruins center Charlie Coyle (13) face-off during the first period at Amerant Bank Arena. (Sam Navarro/USA TODAY Sports)

  • It feels like we’re talking about Bruins center Charlie Coyle almost every single night, but at this point, it’s certainly deserved, as the Weymouth, Mass. native continues to absolutely deliver for this team.

    Out there for 17:30 in this contest, it was Coyle who kicked things off with Boston’s first goal of the evening (and, again, when they truly needed it). For Coyle, it was his seventh goal of the season, his second in as many games, and his fifth in his last six games overall. It was also one of Coyle’s team-leading four shots on goal in the winning performance, with Boston once again struggling to get the puck on goal.

    In addition to the goal, Coyle was once again money at the faceoff dot, with wins in seven of his 12 battles at the dot, good for a 58.3 percent success rate. Coyle was especially strong in the defensive zone, with victories in four of his six faceoffs in the Black and Gold’s end. In a game where the Bruins found themselves hammed in for prolonged stretches, that was a huge boost to keep the B’s legs under them.

    Your latest Coyle pace update: If this is indeed who Coyle is going to be for the 2023-24 Bruins, he will finish the year with 32 goals and 73 points. Both would be career highs and by a damn mile.

  • No. 2 Star: Johnny Beecher

    wwNov 20, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Boston Bruins center Johnny Beecher (19) is congratulated after he scored against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

    wwNov 20, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Boston Bruins center Johnny Beecher (19) is congratulated after he scored against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement Neitzel/USA TODAY Sports)

  • Given the star power of this contest, as well as the playoff rematch vibes of this contest, it’s probably easy to lose sight of a fourth-line center and a player who wasn’t on last year’s roster. But Johnny Beecher put forth perhaps his best game to date as a Bruin, and once again found the back of the net.

    Beyond the goal, which helped the Bruins ice this game with a gut punch of sorts, Beecher had himself a strong night at the faceoff dot, with wins in seven of his nine faceoffs. Beecher also held his own in a showdown that the Panthers seemed to want, with Beecher going 3-for-4 at the dot against the Panthers’ Sam Reinhart.

    The Bruins also controlled on-ice shot attempts at a 10-6 clip with Beecher on the ice at five-on-five, and outshot Florida by a 6-2 mark over that 9:03 sample.

  • No. 1 Star: Linus Ullmark

    Nov 22, 2023; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) moves the puck against the Florida Panthers during the first period at Amerant Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 22, 2023; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) moves the puck against the Florida Panthers during the first period at Amerant Bank Arena. (Sam Navarro/USA TODAY Sports)

  • In a first period that was all Florida, it was Linus Ullmark who kept the Bruins afloat with a stellar 15-for-15 effort in the Boston net. And when the Panthers started to make their second-period push, it was Ullmark who once again stood tall, with a gigantic save on the Panthers’ Kevin Stenlund just before Jake DeBrusk’s goal.

    I mean, that was simply H U G E. Between the save and DeBrusk’s goal, it was effectively a two-goal swing in the blink of an eye, and the Panthers simply weren’t the same team after that.

    Ullmark finished his night with a 27-of-28 performance in the Boston net, and continues to look like the confident, calm, and poised goaltender that won the Vezina Trophy last year.

    And don’t look now, but Ullmark is absolutely surging, with a perfect 3-0-0 record and .945 save percentage since his ugly-looking loss in Detroit earlier this month.

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