The Boston Bruins will return home to TD Garden this week on the heels of a two-game winning streak.
After beating the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday to avoid their worst start in more than a half-century, the Bruins on Saturday came away with a wild 5-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena.
Let’s run through a few notes and nuggets from the finale of Boston’s two-game trip:
— Kevan Miller let loose a flurry of powerful punches midway through the second period, dominating fellow Hockey East product Joe Vitale to the point that Vitale left the game and did not return.
It was the first fight by a Bruins player this season, and Tyler Randell, who scored less than four minutes later, said it lit a fire under the team.
“It was great,” Randell told NESN rinkside reporter Nikki Reyes during second intermission. “We needed that. We needed someone to step up and pick up the pace there, and he did that very well and got us going. It was a great job.”
Miller’s bout also produced the photo of the night, courtesy of USA Today photographer Matt Kartozian:
— Speaking of Randell, the Bruins rookie is on quite the roll to begin his NHL career. The 24-year-old forward scored Thursday in his debut, then did so again Saturday, zinging one past Coyotes goalie Mike Smith off assists from David Krejci and Torey Krug.
Oh, and those goals have come on the only two shots Randell has taken. Talk about efficiency.
— Long a spot of weakness for Bruins teams, Boston’s power play has been lethal thus far. The B’s netted three more power-play goals on six chances against the Coyotes to improve to 7-for-18 (38.9 percent) on the man advantage this season.
“They’re really good,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said in a postgame interview with NESN’s Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley. “I think they’re doing the right things. … Right now, we’re rolling pretty good, especially with that first unit, so we’ve got to make it last.”
— The third periods of Arizona’s first four games featured one total goal. Saturday’s alone featured five: two by the Coyotes and three by the Bruins.
“I told the guys, from the last game I watched here against Minnesota, (the Coyotes) came out in the third period really, really well,” Julien said. “We had to be prepared for that. But again, I repeat what I said earlier: We can bend as long as we don’t break. And I don’t think we broke. We bent a little bit there, but we regained our composure here and found a way to win.”
— Among the 13,411 fans in attendance at Gila River Arena was former Boston Red Sox closer Keith Foulke, who resides in Arizona but is quite the New England sports fan.
— Some assorted Saturday stats: Boston’s top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Loui Eriksson combined for 15 shots on goal, with Bergeron (two power-play goals) notching a game-high eight. … Matt Beleskey didn’t factor into the scoring but dished out a game-high 10 hits. … Shane Doan’s first-period goal made him the second Coyotes player ever to reach the 900-point plateau. Doan assisted on each of Arizona’s other two tallies.
Photo via Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY Sports Images