Talking Points: Another productive night for Bergeron
Patrice Bergeron didn’t score any goals, but he continues his hot stretch of productive, dominant two-way hockey with another strong performance against the Coyotes. Bergeron notched a pair of assists to give him six goals and 19 points in his last 13 games, and helped whip up some B’s momentum in the second period when he kick-started a shorthanded goal by stripping Oliver Ekman-Larsson in the defensive zone. Bergeron finished with the two helpers, a plus-2 rating, one shot on net and a whopping five takeaways in 17:35 of ice time while winning 12-of-21 face-off chances in a standard performance for No. 37.
Speaking of Oliver Ekman-Larsson, he was one of many underwhelming players for the Coyotes on a night where they didn’t show much after a burst in the second period. Ekman-Larsson turned over the puck on the PP in a tied 1-1 game in the second period, and that immediately turned into Patrice Bergeron feeding Riley Nash for a shorthanded goal. That was the go-ahead score for Boston and the eventual game-winner at the start of three unanswered scores, and was the worst play in a forgettable night for the Swedish D-man. Ekman-Larsson finished with two shots on net, a minus-2 rating and not much else in 24:09 of passive hockey.
The Bruins were allowing the Coyotes to hang in there into the second period when it was a 1-1 game following a goal from Peter Holland, but they managed to push through anything that was bogging them down against Arizona. Following a hellacious Colin Miller hit on Alex Burmistrov that got the Bruins a five minute major and game misconduct for their D-man, the Bruins scored a shorthanded goal against a sloppy Coyotes PP that was ripe for the picking. That special teams play gave the Bruins the energy they would need to separate from Arizona and they scored two more goals along the way to build a comfy three-goal cushion.
Colin Miller only played 6:27, but he made a big imprint on the game with his first period goal and his thunderous second period hit on Alex Burmistrov that knocked both players out of the game. Miller finished with the goal and a plus-1 rating after stepping into a David Pastrnak feed and powering the B’s to a lead just three minutes into the game. His second hit of the game was a good, clean and punishing body check on Burmistrov that appeared to knock him out cold on the ice. Burmistrov was taken off on a stretcher and Miller was bounced from the game with a game misconduct for “charging.” But it was exactly the kind of good, hard hockey hit that should have gone without a penalty and will make opponents think twice before accepting passes in the train tracks of the neutral zone. Credit Miller for texting Burmistrov to make sure he was okay after the fact with the Coyotes forward absolving him of any wrongdoing by saying it was “a hockey play.”
BY THE NUMBERS
10 – the number of consecutive wins for the Bruins over the Coyotes dating back to Boston’s 5-2 loss to them during the first of two Premiere Games in Prague during the 2010-11 hockey season.
QUOTE TO NOTE
“I just want the guys to make sure that they play confident, solid hockey and believe in themselves. And play to a standard. We’re trying to set a standard where we’re one of the better teams in the National Hockey League. They’ve been there before, the leadership group here. That’s where we’re striving to get through to in the end.” – Bruce Cassidy, on where this Bruins team is headed after winning seven of eight games under the new coach.