The Boston Bruins needed their veterans to rise to the occasion Saturday night against the Arizona Coyotes.
The Bruins looked listless in both losses of their home-and-home series against the Colorado Avalanche, which highlighted the absence of Patrice Bergeron, who remains sidelined with a lower body injury.
A third consecutive loss would have been a tough way to start the season for Boston, but the team’s leaders made sure that wouldn’t be the case. The B’s offense exploded against the Coyotes at Gila River Arena, as 12 of the team’s 18 skaters posted points in the 6-2 victory.
Chief among Boston’s stars Saturday night was Zdeno Chara. The Bruins’ captain delivered a three-point performance, notching a goal and two assists. Chara also led a strong defensive effort, which was much-needed after back-to-back ugly performances against the Avs.
After the game, Chara explained the importance of leading by example and how it rubs off on the team’s younger players.
“Our job as the veterans is to pull a good share of the load,” Chara said, as seen on NESN’s Bruins postgame coverage. “Obviously, the younger group of players stepped up, as well. You need that; you need to have everybody on the same page, otherwise it’s going to be more difficult. I thought tonight there were a lot of positives, good energy. We created a lot of chances and we got guys on the best of those chances.”
Chara wasn’t the only Bruins veteran who delivered, though. Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak also posted three-point nights, pacing a Bruins offense that was firing on all cylinders.
Boston’s showing in Arizona was just a taste of the potential the team possesses. The Bruins still are working their way back to full health, as David Backes and Noel Acciari also are battling ailments. If the B’s can fend off the injury bug for the bulk of the season, they could be a major player in the Eastern Conference.
Here are some other notes from Bruins-Coyotes.
— Boston’s sixth goal came courtesy of Anders Bork, the first career NHL goal for the 21-year-old winger.
— Chara is one of four players age 40 or older in Bruins history to score a goal, along with Johnny Bucyk, Mark Recchi and Jaromir Jagr.
— The Bruins will play their first game in Las Vegas on Sunday night when they take on the Golden Knights.
Thumbnail photo via Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY Sports Images
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