Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Mar 12, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Craig Smith (12) celebrates with his teammates after scoring his second goal of the first period against the Arizona Coyotes at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Like H.R. and Bad Brains, the Bruins’ third line with Charlie Coyle between Trent Frederic and Craig Smith has that PMA.

One of the brightest spots among the team’s continued second-half push, a Saturday showdown with the Coyotes came with another strong outing, with Smith and Coyle accounting for all three of Boston’s goals in a 3-2 final.

“We’re always positive with each other,” Coyle, who has four goals and 12 points in his last 14 games, said of the line’s recent success. “We don’t harp on each other. We’re always there and support each other, whether it’s on the ice or off the ice talking, and we’re always looking to improve. That’s what you need. Everyone’s doing their job. You do that consistently, you do it the right way, then good things are gong to happen for you, and they’re starting to fall for us.”

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The Bruins are beginning to reap the rewards of that support and communication. The B’s second goal, which saw Coyle drag three Arizona skaters his way before a feed to Smith for a prime-area look and goal, was a perfect example of that.

“We get comfortable with each other, then you talk more, and then you can read off each other a little more,” Coyle noted. “Then you get rewarded a little bit and you start to gain confidence and make plays.”

This line has become a grind line of sorts for the Bruins, too, with all three forwards looking more than capable of making possession plays, winning their battles along the boards, and providing an energy that’s just straight-up brutal on the opposition’s legs and lungs after a few shifts.

“I think they’re playing to the identity of how they would need to play to score on a regular basis,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said after the victory. “Typically they’re playing behind the defense,  winning pucks, getting pucks back, good forechecks, in sync together in the offensive zone with their spacing. So, they’re scoring a lot of goals like that.

“And away from the puck, I think they’ve been very reliable with their board work.”

That’s been a sneaky-big key for the Bruins with this line, too. With the Hall-Haula-Pastrnak expected to eat up a good chunk of offensive-zone starts, and with The Bergeron Line always positioned to get theirs, the Bruins want to turn this Frederic-Coyle-Smith line into one that can thrown over the boards in any situation and any zone.

“I think we’re staying close,” Smith, who has notched seven goals in his last five games, said. “We’re creating turnovers. We created some good energy for the bench, especially, and I think that carries on from line-to-line.”

Here are some other thoughts and notes from a 3-2 win over the ‘Yotes

  • Mar 12, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Craig Smith (12) reacts after after scoring a goal against the Arizona Coyotes during the first period at the TD Garden. (Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports)

    B’s set franchise record with 18th straight win over Coyotes

    Saturday’s win also came with some history for the Bruins, as the victory marked the team’s 18th straight against the Coyotes which is their longest winning streak against any opponent in franchise history. The win broke this Bruins-Coyotes streak out of a tie with a 17-game Bruins-Senators run that ran from Oct. 12, 1992 through Nov. 9, 1995. This Boston run over the Coyotes is now just five straight wins away from tying the longest head-to-head win streak in league history, with the Canadiens winning 23 straight meetings over the Capitals from Halloween 1974 through Mar. 25, 1978.

  • Mar 12, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (48) attempts a shot on Arizona Coyotes goaltender Karel Vejmelka (70) during the first period at the TD Garden. (Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports)

    Matt Grzelcyk returns to Boston lineup 

    On the shelf for the last two games with an upper-body injury and an illness, the 5-foot-9 Matt Grzelcyk made his return to the Black and Gold lineup Saturday night opposite Brandon Carlo.

    Deployed for 18:40 of time on ice, Grzelcyk finished the win with one shot, one hit, one blocked shot, a takeaway, and a plus-1 rating. Beyond the raw data, Grzelcyk’s 65.5 corsi-for percentage was fourth-best among all Boston skaters, and the Bruins held an 11-5 advantage in shots with Grzelcyk on the ice at five-on-five play.

    With Grzelcyk back, Jack Ahcan, fresh off the first goal of his NHL career in his last outing, sat as a healthy scratch.

  • Mar 10, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (6) celebrates with forward Phil Kessel (81) after scoring against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first period at Scotiabank Arena. (Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports)

    Window shopping: Coyotes edition

    A franchise in the middle of what can only be described as a scorched-earth rebuild, the Coyotes enter the 2022 trade deadline with just about everybody available for the right price. Honestly, they’d probably take calls on head coach André Tourigny if you inquired. And there’s no shortage of Arizona talent that’s been linked to the Bruins ahead of the Mar. 21 trade deadline.

    Up front, a potential reunion with old friend Phil Kessel has been floated about. Kessel, whose girlfriend just welcomed their first child, has a modified no-trade clause and is in relatively strong control of his future, with an eight-team trade list. It’s important to note that the Coyotes were the only team Kessel wanted to go to when his Pittsburgh tenure came to an end, so it’ll be interesting to see if he has any interest in moving this deadline.

    But, a natural right-shot, right wing, the 34-year-old Kessel could certainly bring some added scoring punch to the Boston lineup, and that playoff resume (34 goals and 81 points in 96 career playoff games) is certainly appealing.

    On the backend, Jakob Chychrun remains thee name to watch for the Bruins. A 6-foot-2, 220-pound left-shot defenseman, Chychrun is on the block in the midst of a campaign that’s come with seven goals and 21 points in 46 games. Chychrun is also signed at a highly-manageable $4.6 million per year through the 2024-25 season. The bummer in this one: Boston got an incomplete look at Chychrun in this game, as he played just 5:51 before exiting with a lower-body injury.

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