Bruins Notes: Boston Showing ‘Killer Instinct’ Early In Season

The Bruins handle whatever is thrown at them


December 3, 2022

BOSTON — The Colorado Avalanche limped into Saturday’s game against the Boston Bruins dealing with multiple injuries.

And the Bruins made sure to never let them off the mat.

Boston asserted its will over the defending Stanley Cup champions and put together a complete performance in which they never trailed and culminated in a resounding 5-1 win at TD Garden — making them a perfect 14-0-0 on home ice this season.

No matter what situation the Bruins have faced this season, they have shown they can more than handle it due to the makeup of the team.

“I do think we have killer instinct in us that has grown throughout the year and you’ve seen us do it in a lot of different ways,” Bruins first-year coach Jim Montgomery said. “We give up leads and then we win a game. We come from behind a couple of times. (Against) Carolina we were down two for the first time at home. This team, you can tell a lot of guys have won a lot in this league. They know how to win.”

The Bruins remain unfazed even when little things don’t go their way, like when they had a goal overturned on video review in the second period. But moments later, David Pastrnak found himself on a breakaway and delivered a highlight-reel goal to give the Bruins a 3-0 lead.

When the Avalanche mustered their only response of the night 6:32 into the third period with a goal from Andrew Cogliano, the Bruins came back with a much bigger answer later in the frame with Trent Frederic and Jake DeBrusk scoring 10 seconds apart.

While Boston’s on-ice talent has certainly contributed to their stellar 20-3-0 record, so has their mentality of taking on whatever is thrown their way.

“I think it kind of comes with a little bit of an older team, too,” Brad Marchand said. “The experience that comes with that. We have a lot of guys that have been on deep runs and have played a ton of hockey. We don’t really seem to get (shaken) up about anything.”

Here are more notes from Saturday’s Bruins-Avalanche game:

— The Bruins’ penalty kill had allowed a goal in seven straight games, but snapped that streak against the top power-play unit in the NHL. Boston denied Colorado its three-man-advantage opportunities.

— Linus Ullmark hadn’t played in over a week after exiting a win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Nov. 25 with an injury. Despite the extended time off, Ullmark was sharp right out of the gate as the Avalanche tested him with 14 first-period shots and he turned aside each one. Ullmark finished stopping 25 shots.

“I thought in the first period there was a couple of things they did that put us on our heels and Linus was great in the first period,” Montgomery said.

— DeBrusk capped the scoring with less than five minutes to play and it served as the 100th goal of his career. DeBrusk nearly reached the milestone in the second period, but his goal was waved off after a video review.

“It felt like a curse for a second there,” DeBrusk said. “Obviously, I guess the first milestone. But at the same time, here’s to 100 more or more than that. There are lots of cool things that happened this year to different guys already. It was just nice to score a goal. I feel like I hadn’t beaten a goalie in a while.”

— The reverse retro “Pooh Bear” jersey might be a good luck charm for the Bruins. They are 5-0 in the alternate uniform this season and have outscored their opponents by a combined 20-6 margin in those contests.

— The Bruins look to continue their home dominance Monday when they welcome in former coach Bruce Cassidy and the Vegas Golden Knights. Puck drop from TD Garden is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET, and you can catch the game, plus an hour of pregame coverage, on NESN.

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Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
Boston Bruins teammates Charlie McAvoy and Taylor Hall
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