In one of their better efforts of the young season, the Boston Bruins finally got a win in front of their own fans.
Following a 0-3-1 start at TD Garden — and a 3-0-0 start on the road — the Black and Gold had everything working in their favor and earned a 6-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Here are a few things that we learned from Tuesday’s victory.
60-minute effort results in first home win
There were some instances, particularly in the first and second period, where the Coyotes were pushing the tempo. They were coming off a win the night before over the Maple Leafs and needed a strong start to their fifth and final game of their East Coast trip.
Whatever push the Coyotes got, the Bruins weathered and later countered into their transition game. From their defensive layers to establishing zone time in their own end, the Black and Gold got one of their better efforts and finally got their first home win of the young season in front of the 259th consecutive sellout of 17,565 at TD Garden.
“We looked really tight defensively and overall we had good layers,” said Tuukka Rask, who earned his first shutout of the season. “You know, second period a few times we gave them some room in the neutral zone there, but other than that I thought it was a great, tight effort.”
For a defense that has seen their share of struggles, the Bruins are slowly getting back to their identity in the back end. Their layers were smooth and structured and they are winning more battles for loose pucks in the neutral zone over the last two games. That, combined with the scoring depth is what B’s fans — both at home and on the road — hope to see going forward.
“Yeah, it’s been a struggle at home, there’s no denying it – we’ve struggled,” said Brett Connolly, who has scored in three straight games following his tally at 10:22 of the third. “We’ve been so good on the road. We almost found our way against Philly but they found a way to come back and won. We’re going to take this as a stepping-stone and hopefully get on a roll here at home.”
David Krejci is still red hot
We touched on how important Krejci’s presence would be if the Bruins wanted to have a bounce back season. So far, he is more than providing a presence to the Black and Gold. He’s providing goals, assists and stability.
Late in the first, Krejci extended his point streak to eight games at 17:22 when he scored his sixth goal of the season after firing a beauty of a wrist shot past Coyotes goalie Mike Smith on a 2-on-1. The 29-year old center added his seventh of the season — tying his mark from last season (47 games) — to finalize the 6-0 triumph.
“He’s off to a good start,” head coach Claude Julien said. “It’s all about confidence in this league and he’s gotten off to a good start. He’s confident about his game and he’s healthy as you can see. So that makes it easier for us and it’s nice to have him back.
Krejci’s eight-game point streak is the most of any Bruin since Joe Juneau and Dmitri Kvartalnov notched points in the first 14 games of the 1992-93 season. As of Tuesday’s final, Krejci’s 14 points leads the league.
More importantly, Krejci helped his team go 4-0-1 in their last five games.
“I don’t really care about that,” Krejci said about his stats to start the season. “It’s always nice when the puck goes into the net. But it’s a pretty good feeling to win four of the last [five] games. It’s a good feeling in the room and we just have to keep it going.”
There’s no “goaltending controversy” in Boston
Up until Tuesday, Jonas Gustavsson had been doing his part as a backup. Rask, meanwhile, was looking shaky. Part of that was due to the defense in front of him, but the 2014 Vezina Trophy winner was also battling the puck and allowing a few soft goals during his first five starts.
In start No. 6, Rask looked cool and composed and gave up very few second chance opportunities to the Coyotes. His defense helped also by disrupting the shooting lanes and winning their share of battles for loose pucks.
All in all it was certainly an effort that Rask needed as he calmed any discussion of a potential “goaltending controversy.” The Bruins are certainly going to need him going forward, and as long as the Finnish netminder remains solid like he was on Tuesday, they’ll have a chance to be competitive.
“Yeah, I mean just keeping the goals against down obviously that’s always the goal, but today we managed to do that and I was telling guys before the game, you know, try to keep it three or under today so we did that,” said Rask, who allowed fewer than three goals in a game for the first time this year. “Very happy with that.”