The one constant in the eight prior victories under interim coach Bruce Cassidy was the Bruins getting on the board first and scoring in the first period. In their three losses, the B’s allowed the first goal of the game.
Only once did they come back from allowing that first goal. One of those games came Monday against the Ottawa Senators where they chased the game early and often. In arguably their worst performance of the Cassidy era, a pair of goals from Derick Brassard and Jean-Gabriel Pageau within the opening 3:25 put the Black and Gold in chase mode from the get-go.
Looking to go back to the drawing book against the lowly Red Wings on Wednesday night, the Bruins reverted back to that old score first formula. And boy did they keep their foot on the pedal.
It took a little while for the Bruins to get going. Up until the first tv timeout, the Bruins didn’t have the same spark out of the gate. But boy was it different following the first six-plus minutes.
“We just reminded them to stick with it. We looked like we wanted to play but the puck wasn’t cooperating with us, or our hands were a little out of sync,” Cassidy said postgame. “I didn’t think we were in a bad spot and I thought we were ready to go, we just fought the puck. Eventually that’s going to come around. You hope that’s not going to last 60 minutes and we got it together. Scoring the first goal helps that – helps you relax, puts the other team on their heels.”
A pair of goals from David Krejci along with Brad Marchand’s 31st of the season and Drew Stafford’s first as a Bruin sparked Boston in an explosive four-goal first period. The onslaught continued en route to a 6-1 victory.
“We didn’t have a great start. The first five minutes, five to six minutes today they were the better team,” Marchand said after tallying two goals in Wednesday’s victory “But we did a really good job at bouncing back from that and establishing our forecheck and we got a few goals after that.”
“Yeah, that was very important,” Krejci noted about the getting off to a good start following Monday’s loss to the Senators. “Like I said before, I thought we had a really strong start. We scored [four] goals in the first period and pretty much controlled the game from there.”
Any team will tell you that getting that all important first goal is one of the primary emphasis. This year alone, 25 teams – including the Colorado Avalanche – have a winning percentage of .500 or more when scoring the game’s first goal.
The Bruins’ 25 wins when notching that important first goal is good for ninth in the league. Their starts have improved over the course of the season. Tonight was no different.
“Yeah, I mean, there were a couple plays there that might have been a little sloppy. It didn’t take us too long to get into it, though. Once we started, we got some big goals there that really got us going,” said Stafford, who has three points in as many games since coming over from Winnipeg at the trade deadline.
“I felt that, minus a couple rush plays that maybe we had a couple breakdowns in the neutral zone, for the most part, I think we played the right way the entire night and we were able to finish them off and not really take our foot off the gas to the point where we kind of let them back in. So, we had some solid games from a lot of guys.”