Kuraly enjoys his 'good night,' scoring first two NHL goals to win Game 5

Kuraly enjoys his 'good night,' scoring first two NHL goals to win Game 5

OTTAWA – David Backes admitted he was guilty as charged for giving Sean Kuraly a headlock after the rookie center scored his first NHL goal to tie things up in Game 5, and said he should have given him a “noogie” for what happened next.

What happened next was Kuraly unbelievably scoring twice for the Bruins including a double-overtime game-winner in Boston’s 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators in Game 5. The goal keeps the Bruins alive to fight another day in Game 6 on Sunday, and officially marks Kuraly as a certified playoff hero after a two-goal performance when he was placed into the B’s lineup for the struggling Ryan Spooner.


Kuraly was put into the lineup because Bruce Cassidy felt he would bring more “will to win puck battles” in a desperate playoff situation for the Bruins, and that’s exactly how it played out in the game.

The double-overtime winner also happened after it appeared that Kuraly had won the game in overtime when he charged the net on a partial breakaway, and seemigly scored in a second-effort bid against Craig Anderson. But it was ruled no-goal on the ice due to goalie interference and upheld by video review, so that just meant Kuraly was going to have to promptly win in double-OT instead.

“The coaches and my linemates just told me to stick with it, told all of us to stick with it,” said Kuraly. “I think we did and we got rewarded.”

Kuraly was understandably excited after shoveling home the rebound of a Charlie McAvoy point shot for the double-overtime clincher, and seemed happier for the team than he was for himself.

“Wow. It feels good. It keeps the series going and we did what we came here to do. It was a good night,” said Kuraly, who posted six shots on net in 18 plus minutes of solid action centering Backes and Frank Vatrano for much of the game. “You don’t really know [how it feels] until you score your first goal, and it felt great. You work a long time to get that feeling, so to see it go in felt really good.”

Clearly Kuraly’s teammates felt good for him as well after the 24-year-old posted just a single assist in eight NHL games with the Bruins this season, and nobody could have foreseen the clutch offensive explosion waiting in Game 5. It’s just one of those great Stanley Cup playoff stories where a lesser-known player steps up and delivers in a big way for a team that needed that performance at that exact time.

“He’s got the tools and he’s flying,” said Backes. “He makes a play [on the first goal] by getting in on the fore-check and I was able to be the second man in there…he gets it to open ice and brings it to the net hard like we’ve talked about, and he scores his first NHL goal. With [David] Krejci out and some other guys out, we need other guys to step up and certainly tonight it was [Kuraly’s] night.

“He’s a great kid that works his butt off, so you couldn’t be happier. Tonight is his night and you love to see it. That’s as fun as it gets.”

As Backes referenced, the game-tying first goal for Kuraly was just as important for the Bruins in the second period. For that one the 6-foot-2, 205-pounder smashed into Chris Wideman on the fore-check initially and then later carried the puck on a wraparound goal that deflected in off Wideman’s skate as he fought to get his bearings in front of the Ottawa net.

That was the way the scoreboard remained until Kuraly again stepped up and scored the game-winner in double-overtime with a working man’s goal cleaning up rebounds in front of the net. 

Talking points: Ryan Donato's goal helps Bruins clinch playoff berth

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Talking points: Ryan Donato's goal helps Bruins clinch playoff berth

GOLD STAR: Jaden Schwartz stepped up and won the game for the Blues with a couple of really good plays in the third period and overtime. He took advantage of a line change and a lax Bruins defense to snap a shot past Anton Khudobin from the face-off circle in the third period that tied up the game, and then went on a one-man rush in overtime before blasting a puck past Khudobin for the game-winner on a beautiful individual play. Schwartz finished with the two goals that represented all of the St. Louis offense, four shots on net, a hit and a takeaway in 20:02 of ice time while logging a plus-2 rating as well. The Blues clearly needed somebody to step up to the plate with Vladimir Tarasenko and the Schwartz was with St. Louis on Wednesday night.

BLACK EYE: The Bruins were quite literally black and blue after a physical, punishing game with the St. Louis Blues. A number of players took heavy hits against a St. Louis team that felt free to throw hits and take runs with Zdeno Chara and David Backes out of Boston’s lineup among other players, and that culminated with Brayden Schenn drilling David Krejci in the second period. It was a hit that earned Schenn a two minute penalty for charging midway through the period, but shouldn’t result in anything more for the Blues forward. The hit wasn’t late, his skates were on the ice when he made contact, and Krejci was crouched down when Schenn made impact on a heavy check with his elbows tucked in, so it looked like a relatively clean hit that isn’t going to be on the radar of the NHL’s Player Safety Department. That physicality for the Blues really seemed to slow down the Bruins a little bit as things went on over the 60 plus minutes of the overtime game.


TURNING POINT: The Bruins actually only got outshot by a 15-13 margin in the second period, third period and overtime, but it was clear that they slowed down in terms of attacking and creating chances as things moved on in the game. By the latter half of the game the Bruins were simply trying to hang on to their one-goal lead, and then after that simply trying to hang in there for the point earned by getting to overtime. They managed to do it, but it was a different wave of momentum in the game once the Blues tied things up in the third period on Schwartz’s first goal. After that the Bruins were scrambling and hanging on, and did just enough to hang in there for a single overtime point for the second game in a row.

HONORABLE MENTION: Ryan Donato made it two goals in two games when he stepped into a loose puck created by an Alex Pietrangelo turnover that bounced off referee Brad Watson after he attempted to throw a puck up the middle of the ice. Donato pounced on the fortuitous bounce and rocked a puck on edge past Jake Allen for the game’s first goal and another affirmation that the 21-year-old can both shoot and score. Donato was pretty quiet after that goal, of course, with a couple of shots on net, but it seemed like a big, heavy hit on him by Dmitri Jaskin in the second period kind of quieted the youngster down a little bit. Still, you’ve got to love the production from a player just getting his feet wet at the NHL level.

BY THE NUMBERS: 100 – The number of points for the Bruins after falling in overtime by a 2-1 score to the Blues, and in getting to the century mark the B’s clinched a playoff spot for the second season in a row.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s step one. Going into the season we wanted to make the playoffs and be a Stanley Cup contender. Right now we got in and we’re going to be a contender, right? Now it’s about being in the best position possible going forward.” –Bruce Cassidy, to reporters in St. Louis about clinching the playoff spot on Wednesday night.


Bruins celebrate playoff berth with hilarious video about fans

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Bruins celebrate playoff berth with hilarious video about fans

With a playoff berth in-hand, the Boston Bruins celebrated on Instagram with a playful video about their fans.

The short video put their fans into categories: the hugger, the faithful, the screamer, the loose cannon, the comfortable commentator and the emotional trainwreck.

No matter how the devotees enjoy Bruins games, they can all unit over their hockey team. Here's the vide for your enjoyment.

It's playoff time. Diehards unite. #InOurBlood

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