GOLD STAR: It’s got to be Jaroslav Halak, who one-upped Tuukka Rask’s excellent performance on opening night and stopped 35 shots en route to the 1-0 shutout victory of the Arizona Coyotes. He stopped a Vinnie Hinostroza breakaway chance in the first period, and then made his best save in the second when he threw a full-extension leg pad save at a Clayton Keller chance right at the doorstep after a crisp cross-ice pass from Phil Kessel. Halak did some of his best work in the third period when he stopped 14 shots over the final 20 minutes to protect the one-goal lead. Once again, the Bruins backup looks ready to play out of the gate just like he did last season, and that means being there in case Rask pulls his Mr. October at some point in this first month of the NHL season. Halak looks ready to go.
BLACK EYE: The Bruins mentioned Par Lindholm as a guy that could help the Bruins, and a player who had more offense than he showed last season in Toronto. We certainly didn’t see much of that on Saturday night. Lindholm didn’t have a shot on net and had a rough night in the face-off circle going 2-for-6 while not really showing up much in his 12-plus minutes of ice time. David Backes ended up being the healthy scratch with David Krejci entering back into the lineup on Saturday, but there really doesn’t seem to be much that Lindholm is doing to stay in there over Backes. At least Brett Ritchie was playing a physical role with five hits even though there wasn’t much offense coming from him against the Coyotes.
TURNING POINT: It was all about the final few shifts of the first period for the Perfection Line after the Bruins had been dominated for most of the first period. They were about to head to the dressing room for the first intermission after a dreadful 20 minutes, but Boston’s best players stepped up and made the difference in the game. Patrice Bergeron threw a slick backhanded pass to Brad Marchand waiting in the face-off circle, and No. 63 snapped one past Darcy Kuemper to the short side for the game’s only goal. It was a good response for that trio after a rusty-looking opening night and it was the game-winner with Jaro Halak on top of his game.
HONORABLE MENTION: Brad Marchand was very good while leading all forwards with 20 minutes of ice time. He scored the game’s only goal in the first period, was active throughout with six shot attempts, a hit and a blocked shot, and was arguably Boston’s most effective forward while playing locked in hockey at both ends of the ice. The goal was the thing, though, as the Bruins needed something to pull them out of their malaise at the end of the first period, and Marchand is one of the few players in the league who can consistently finish off that kind of play. No. 63 was a difference-maker on Saturday night like the B's need him to be.
BY THE NUMBERS: 15 — the number of consecutive wins for the Bruins over the Coyotes while outscoring them by a whopping 56-19 margin over the span. Obviously Saturday night’s game was closer, but it’s amazing how the Coyotes have found ways to lose against Boston over the years.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “This wasn’t our best game, but we won. At the end of the day that’s all that matters.” —Brad Marchand to reporters in Arizona after it was all over.
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