3 takeaways from the Bruins’ 2-1 win over the Coyotes

Bruce Cassidy's makeshift lineup worked out for an injury-plagued Boston squad.

Bruins efenseman Connor Clifton sends Arizona Coyotes center Clayton Keller to the ice as goaltender Jaroslav Halak looks on during the third period Saturday.
Bruins efenseman Connor Clifton sends Arizona Coyotes center Clayton Keller to the ice as goaltender Jaroslav Halak looks on during the third period Saturday. –Ross D. Franklin / AP Photo

No Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, John Moore, Kevan Miller, Urho Vaakanainen, or Brandon Carlo? No problem.

On a night where Arizona sported its vintage throwback uniforms and the Bruins were barely able to glue together a respectable lineup, Boston did just enough to get past the Coyotes.

Here’s what we learned from Boston’s 2-1 victory over the Desert Dogs at Gila River Arena.

Makeshift lineup works out

The main story entering Friday’s tilt in Dallas was how the Bruins patchwork defense — that included recent call-ups Jeremy Lauzon and Connor Clifton — would fare under pressure following recent injuries to Chara and Moore.

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The whole lineup was in question 24 hours later as Bergeron returned to Boston for further re-evaluation. This forced head coach Bruce Cassidy to trot out a unique lineup hours before puck drop.

David Krejci stepped into the first-line center role alongside Anders Bjork and David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, Jake DeBrusk, and Joakim Nordstrom filled the second line. Noel Acciari — a healthy scratch the previous three games — skated with Danton Heinen and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson. The new-look lineup somehow produced.

The Bruins — still disappointed from their overtime loss in Dallas — came out of the gates firing. Forsbacka Karlsson’s first career goal and Jake DeBrusk’s eighth of the season quickly gave Boston a 2-0 lead in the first 2:25. The Bruins nearly got a third moments later before Arizona’s successful challenge for goaltender interference erased Matt Grzelcyk’s tally.

Returning from his frustrating night in Dallas, Marchand had one of his better performances of the season. The veteran’s 200-foot effort gave the Bruins a spark, especially with DeBrusk’s tally.

The Bruins are hoping that Bergeron returns sooner rather than later, but this patchwork lineup might be a keeper.

Jaroslav Halak builds off of Tuukka Rask’s effort from the night before

Much like Tuukka Rask on Friday night, Jaroslav Halak needed to deliver a victory for the hobbled B’s. He did just that.

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The 33-year-old journeyman goaltender was business, as usual, making timely stops — several coming in the third period — en route to a 32-save performance.

The Bruins faced a 6-on-4 scenario with just under a minute left in regulation. Halak stood tall in the high-pressure spot, and he had a little bit of help. His terrific pad save on Brad Richardson and Jeremy Lauzon’s diving clear attempt in the final seconds secured the highly coveted two points for the Black and Gold.

Halak, now 7-2-2, continues to be a rock when the Bruins need him the most. He is a huge reason why the Bruins are staying afloat despite the injuries and a lack of scoring depth.

See Your Boston Teams Up Close

With just five goals, the Bruins’ offense has hit a slump during the first three games of the road trip. Both Rask and Halak gave their team a chance for points with spectacular performances in Dallas and Arizona.

Rask’s bounce-back game Friday provided the veteran with some much-needed confidence. The Bruins need more of that from Rask. They’ll also need more stellar performances from Halak if they want to maintain pace in the Atlantic Division standings.

JFK notches first career NHL goal

Forsbacka Karlsson entered training camp as a favorite to take over third line center duties for the departing Riley Nash. Neither he nor fellow youngsters Trent Frederic or Jack Studnicka could instill enough confidence in the coaching staff to secure the job.

Yet, after a few months down in Providence, the 22-year-old is making the most of his latest third line opportunity and is starting to find his groove. Forsbacka Karlsson’s first NHL goal — on Acciari’s first point of the season — in the first period set the tone for an eventful 10:37 of ice time.

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The former Boston University standout has been playing alongside a wide variety of moving parts on the third line, but he’s finding comfort at the NHL level thanks to his poise and confidence.

Slowly, but surely, JFK is becoming a keeper on Causeway Street.

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