Things could have gotten real, real ugly for the Boston Bruins on Friday night.
Playing in the third contest of a four-game road trip that presently has them journeying across Western Canada, the Bruins put themselves in a quick hole against the Calgary Flames.
But they stuck to the plan, gutted it out and walked out of the Saddledome with a 4-3 win as a result.
The Bruins allowed three goals in less than four minutes to begin the game, trailing 3-1 by the 3:23 mark. But goals from Charlie Coyle and Patrice Bergeron put the Bruins back level before the opening period concluded, and Brad Marchand’s tally early in the second period proved to be the winner.
Jaroslav Halak was getting peppered out of the gate, and the floodgates looked like they were ready to blast open.
So how did they keep things from unraveling?
“We just had to get out of that period,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said to NESN’s Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley following the game. “The way it was going it didn’t look good for us, (we needed to) give Jaro a chance to settle in and I thought we did a good job with that. And eventually we got one back, I thought ‘OK we’ll go down one and start over,’ and we got a third one. So good for us, we persevered and I thought clearly the rest of the game played more a checking game, and tried to limit their chances and obviously we didn’t generate a ton but enough to win the hockey game.”
In pulling off the comeback, the Bruins did something for just the seventh time in NHL history.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 22, 2020
Certainly the Bruins would tell you they’d prefer not to be in a pinch like that, but it must be some consolation to them to know they can weasel their way out of those jams.
Here are some other notes from Friday’s Bruins-Flames game:
— Jeremy Lauzon still is trying to find his way in the NHL, and he can check a box off from the list of milestones he’s hoping to reach.
Lauzon recorded his first career NHL fight, dropping the gloves with Matthew Tkachuk off a face-off in the second period. Tkachuk landed a couple of nice blows before Lauzon got back on track, and it ultimately ended up being a pretty spirited bout from both parties.
— Speaking of Lauzon, he delivered a valiant effort on a third period penalty kill, and he paid the price for it.
The third-pairing blue-liner blocked a rocket from Dillon Dube, and visibly was in pain. However, that didn’t prevent him from not only trying to get in front of a couple other shots mere seconds later, but also sticking out the rest of the kill before skating to the bench.
Lauzon appeared to go down the tunnel for a few moments, but he was back on the bench shortly thereafter and played without limitations the rest of the way.
Everything he did Friday resulted in some deserved praise from Cassidy.
“This was the message to him: Just play your game and be hard,” Cassidy said. “You’re going to annoy people, sure enough he did. Answered the bell with Tkachuk, he stuck up for his teammate, so those are things that are gonna find you if you play that way. Some good hits, again some blocks, we just want to keep encouraging him to make good plays with the puck, build his game there because the rest is there every night. He’s always an intense guy and he’s always willing to put his body in harm’s way, and if we can combine those two I think we’ve got a real nice hockey player.”
— The Bruins toyed with a few lineup changes, and though Cassidy typically is quick to change things up if he doesn’t like it, he saw his plan through against the Flames.
Danton Heinen stuck on the second line with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk, while Karson Kuhlman played wire to wire with Coyle and Anders Bjork.
Whether or not Cassidy sticks with those combinations in the middle six, especially with Ondrej Kase set to report to Boston on Monday, remains to be seen. But there’s at least a little bit of budding chemistry on those units.
— It wasn’t pretty often, but Halak continued an impressive run.
The backup netminder now has won each of his last five starts. In turning away 18 of the 21 shots he faced against Calgary, he has a .935 save percentage and 1.60 goals against average in that stretch.
Thumbnail photo via Candice Ward/USA TODAY Sports Images