The Bruins were a team on the ropes when they left Boston last week. They’ll return on a roll after earning a hard-fought win Saturday over the Arizona Coyotes.
Boston completed a sweep of its two-game Western Conference road trip by knocking off the Coyotes 5-3 in a game that featured five third-period goals.
David Krejci scored and added two assists, and Patrice Bergeron netted two goals in the final 11 minutes to lock down the win.
After sitting out Boston’s last two games with a concussion, Brad Marchand showed some serious jump in his first shift back. He got off two shots on Coyotes goalie Mike Smith, including one just seconds after he took the ice.
That initial flurry didn’t result in a Bruins goal, however, and Arizona was able to take advantage of a miscue at the other end. A bad turnover by rookie defenseman Tommy Cross gave Arizona possession in the Boston zone, and the ensuing sequence resulted in a goal for Shane Doan.
The goal — the 900th point of the Coyotes captain’s career — slipped by Tuukka Rask after deflecting off the skate of Bruins D-man Kevan Miller.
Bruins coach Claude Julien challenged the ruling, arguing Arizona forward Joe Vitale had interfered with Rask, but the call stood.
Doan’s goal came on Arizona’s first shot of the game. The home team didn’t get off another until after the period’s halfway point and managed just seven total, compared to Boston’s 14.
The Coyotes did see a number of chances in the closing minutes of the first, however, including once that involved Doan missing a wide-open net.
The Bruins continued to flight shots at Coyotes goalie Mike Smith in the second, and after a few near misses (Loui Eriksson beating Smith five-hole but missing the net, for example), they finally broke through.
But first, a whole bunch of punches were thrown.
A pack of Coyotes ganged up on Bruins winger Jimmy Hayes behind the Arizona net, and Miller responded by engaging with — and proceeding to batter the face of — Coyotes forward Joe Vitale.
Whether the fight provided a spark for the Bruins can be debated, but less than four minutes later, they were on the board. Rookie Tyler Randell took a feed from Krejci and beat Smith for his second goal in as many games.
At the other end, Rask made two fantastic saves on 2-on-1 breakaways, with the second leading directly to the Bruins’ second goal of the night. This one came courtesy of Krejci, who rifled one past Smith from the left circle.
Defenseman Torey Krug assisted on both tallies, while Eriksson was credited with the secondary helper on Krejci’s.
Boston held a commanding 33-10 lead in shots on goal through two.
A highly eventful final period began with a flurry of Coyotes chances, but it was the Bruins who potted the frame’s first goal. Marchand did the honors, netting a shorthanded tally off an assist by rookie Tommy Cross.
It was the first career point for Cross, who, like Randell, made his NHL debut Thursday in Colorado, and it put Boston ahead 3-1. That two-goal cushion, however, lasted all of 13 seconds.
Tobias Rieder beat Rask to cut Arizona’s deficit to one, and Kyle Chipchura followed with a goal of his own less than three minutes later to tie things up.
But once again, that score line did not hold. Krejci drew a slashing call on Martin Hanzal, and Bergeron tipped in a Ryan Spooner shot on the ensuing power play for what proved to be the game-winner.
Bergeron added another with just over a minute to play to close out the scoring.
Rask finished with 21 saves as Arizona recorded 13 of its 24 shots in the final frame.
The Bruins are off until Wednesday, when they host a Philadelphia Flyers team that has posted a shutout in each of its last two games.
Thumbnail photo via Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY Sports Images