Boston Bruins

  • There’s something about ahead-of-schedule returns to action that are leading to goals on TD Garden.

    First it was Brad Marchand, who made a surprise return to action and dominated the Red Wings a few weeks back. And on Thursday, it was Charlie McAvoy who got in on the fun and scored the game-winning goal in his season debut to push the Black and Gold to a victory over Calgary on home ice.

    “It’s just great, isn’t it?” Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery said after the team’s 3-1 win over the Flames. “Just seems like for whatever reason the stars have aligned.”

  • The McAvoy goal was the high point of what was just a borderline street fight between the Bruins and Flames, as they teams traded board-rattling hits at each end of the ice, and with more than one player limping back to their respective bench after some heavy open-ice contact.

    “Calgary came at us,” Montgomery said. “They were very physical. It was the most physical game we’ve been in. I liked the way we responded to the physicality and I just like the way we keep finding ways to win hockey games.”

    Down by one early behind a Noah Hanifin goal, the Bruins responded with Connor Clifton’s second-chance goal on the Flames’ Dan Vladar, which left these teams knotted up at 1-1 for the next 22 minutes of game action.

  • With goals from Clifton and McAvoy, the Bruins are now up to 18 different goal scorers on the season. That’s just one behind the Kraken (I know, I was surprised, too) for the most in all of hockey.

    But the ability to step up to the challenge physically was a big one in this contest, and Linus Ullmark was a plus across the board, as he turned aside all but one of the 32 shots thrown his way for his 10th win of the season.

    “I think I’m just really spoiled and very calm behind the bench when the puck’s in our end, because I have a lot of confidence in our P.K., a lot of confidence in our D zone coverage and I have a lot of confidence in Ullmark,” Montgomery said. “I mean, he just looks so calm and poised. He’s seeing the puck at such a high level that as a coach, you sit there and you see how confident he is and it gives you confidence.”

    With this latest win under his belt, Ullmark now boasts a 10-1-0 record and league-leading .936 save percentage.

  • Nov 10, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Jake DeBrusk (74) and Calgary Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson (4) battle for a rebound in front of Calgary Flames goaltender Dan Vladar (80) during the first period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 10, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Jake DeBrusk (74) and Calgary Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson (4) battle for a rebound in front of Calgary Flames goaltender Dan Vladar (80). (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

  • While Thursday’s showdown between the Bruins and Flames featured some old friends back in Boston with the return of both Milan Lucic and Daniel Vladar, it also featured Bruins coach Jim Montgomery going against his former coach Darryl Sutter. Coached by Sutter during his 2000-01 season with the Sharks, Montgomery reflected on what Sutter taught him while also acknowledging what Sutter has that he does not.

    “I learned a lot from him,” Montgomery offered. “Learned how to hold people accountability at a high level .. I’m not as good behind the mic or as funny.”

    Thursday’s game was also the 400th NHL game of Pavel Zacha’s NHL career. Zacha, acquired from the Devils last summer, is the 72nd Czech-born skater to play at least 400 games in the NHL.

    The Bruins will return to action Saturday night in Buffalo.