BOSTON — The Boston Bruins nearly let a great opportunity to extend their win streak slip through the cracks.
After earning tough division wins over the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators, the Bruins on Tuesday hosted the Arizona Coyotes, who reside in the bottom tier of the NHL standings and entered the matchup having lost their last two games.
But the Coyotes came out punching, grabbing a 2-0 lead in the first period to put the B’s on their heels. The ugly opening frame appeared to serve as somewhat of a wake-up call for the Black and Gold, who responded with a stellar second period en route to a 4-3 win at TD Garden.
It doesn’t sound like Bruce Cassidy did much hooting and hollering in the first intermission. Instead, the head coach stressed for his team to answer the bell.
“For the most part, it wasn’t anything crazy,” Cassidy said. “It was about respecting what was going on. I thought we were a little disrespectful to the game. Showed in our power play, we were trying to force plays. Not being hard enough, supporting one another. Then we talked about making some adjustments. …So that was it for the most part. Listen, let’s play the way we’re capable of and see what happens.”
Tuesday’s response was encouraging for the Bruins, especially considering they’re currently without two of their leaders in Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron. That said, slow starts have been an unfortunate theme for Boston over the past few seasons, and while resiliency is critical, it shouldn’t be relied on.
As Boston continues to be ravaged by injuries, it’s crucial the club doesn’t make games more difficult than they need to be. There are, of course, no guaranteed victories in the NHL, but the B’s can do themselves wonders by taking care of business against lesser opponents as they slowly but surely regain full health.
Here are some other notes from Tuesday’s Bruins-Coyotes game:
— David Krejci celebrated his 800th career NHL game by dishing out three assists.
— It was a scary moment late in the first period when David Backes took an Oliver Ekmann-Larsson skate to the face. But in typical Backes fashion, he returned to the ice at the start of the second period.
— Danton Heinen and David Pastrnak scored the Bruins’ first two goals of the game in a span of 33 seconds near the halfway point of the second period.
— The new-look top line of Brad Marchand-Krejci-Pastrnak provided another strong performance, as each player logged three points. The trio has combined to post 20 total points in the last three games.
— Tuukka Rask made 30 saves on 33 shots to earn his eighth win of the season.