The Boston Bruins and Calgary Flames appeared poised for a high-scoring affair after notching three goals each in the opening 20 minutes. But things settled down a bit for the next 40.
A mere 3:23 into Friday’s tilt, Bruce Cassidy’s squad faced two separate two-goal deficits with Mikael Backlund scoring twice just 2:14 apart and Johnny Gaudreau countering Patrice Bergeron’s first of the night. Yet, they kept pace and evened things up on Bergeron’s second of the night and Coyle’s 15th of the season.
Brad Marchand put the Bruins ahead for good a mere 52 seconds into the middle stanza. The B’s then entered shutdown mode and secured their fifth straight win with a 4-3 triumph at Scotiabank Saddledome.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) February 22, 2020
“A little crazy at first,” defenseman Torey Krug said to NESN’s Sophia Jurkstowicz afterward. “But we knew that once we got back into the game and Jaro [Halak] can shut the door for us we’d get the job done, and he did a great job of responding and rebounding. So all around it was a good battle and it was a lot of fun.”
A busy day that began with the Ondrej Kase trade ended with Boston’s 11th win in 12 games. Here’s what we learned as the Bruins became the sixth team in league history — and first since 2008 — to earn a victory despite relinquishing three goals in the game’s first four minutes.
Jeremy Lauzon is proving his worth
He showed glimpses of potential each time he earned a callup from Providence. And now, Lauzon may be a keeper on the Boston blue-line.
Jeremy Lauzon's first career NHL fight comes against Matthew Tkachuk pic.twitter.com/nxjPqtNZyI
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) February 22, 2020
Connor Clifton’s injury on Dec. 29 opened up a spot — at least temporarily — to skate next to Matt Grzelcyk on the third defensive pair. John Moore didn’t take advantage of that opportunity. Lauzon has, and he proved his worth at the NHL level again in Friday’s tight-checking tilt.
Lauzon more than held his own against a bruising forward in Matthew Tkachuk, landing a couple of jabs before Tkachuk’s takedown for his first career NHL fight. He followed that up with a pair of blocked shots during a pivotal third-period penalty kill to keep Boston’s 4-3 lead intact.
“I’m a physical player so those games are right in my element,” Lauzon told reporters postgame. “I’m just trying to help the team win, and I think that was a huge win for us tonight in a tough building to play in.”
He’ll certainly have some bruises and soreness to overcome, but Lauzon made another solid impression with his teammates. Those moments will only help his chances of becoming a regular with the big club.
Jaroslav Halak settled in
The shot chart might have indicated a quiet night on the surface, but Halak made his 18-save effort worthwhile.
The journeyman netminder relinquished goals on three of the first four shots he faced. Cassidy would’ve likely pulled the trigger on a goalie change under normal circumstances, but Halak stayed in net during the first game of a back-to-back to close out the four-game trip.
Halak’s confidence didn’t waver. The Bruins tightened things up defensively allowing just 17 shots on net in the next 56 minutes and change after Gaudreau gave the Flames a 3-1 lead. The Slovak stayed calm whenever he faced pressure, making the timely stops — including 10 in the final 20 — to secure his fifth straight win between the pipes.
The Bruins are likely due for a stinker at some point following their latest run. Halak and company made sure that it didn’t come on this night after surrendering three goals in the first 3:23.
Bergeron is scoring in bunches
This is the time of year where the Bruins need their best players to perform as such. Bergeron has certainly done that over this recent stretch.
The four-time Selke winner extended his goal streak to five — and point streak to seven — following his pair of lamplighters in Calgary. Without those two goals sandwiched between Backlund’s pair and Gaudreau’s tally, the Flames could’ve run the Bruins out of the building.
— Marina Molnar (@mkmolnar) February 22, 2020
“Definitely not the start that you want. I thought we showed some great resilience sticking with it and staying with the program and bounced back after those early goals,” Bergeron said to the media after notching his seventh goal in as many games. “Then we settled down and played more sound hockey and didn’t give up as many follow up chances.”
Of course, Bergeron excelled in other situations, including the two pivotal penalty kills and his 13-for-19 showing at the faceoff dot.
It’s astonishing to think that Bergeron’s 32 goals in 2015-16 and again in 2018-19 remain his career-high. He’s on pace to break that mark this year, and may very well surpass Bob Gainey for the most Selke Awards in league history at season’s end.