The Boston Bruins, facing the Arizona Coyotes for the second time in less than two weeks, got a much-needed first home win of the season, while Tuukka Rask posted his 27th career shutout, passing Hall of Famer and two-time Stanley Cup champion Gerry Cheevers on the team’s all-time list. The B’s pasted the Coyotes en route to a 6-0 game that saw the loss of Kevan Miller, who was tripped by Arizona forward Tobias Rieder and fell awkwardly into the end boards.
After a feeling-out period in the opening 20 minutes, David Krejci scored his sixth goal of the season off a brilliant rush that started with a smart clearing pass from Torey Krug deep in his own end. The puck went out to Loui Eriksson near the left boards outside the zone and he softly redirected it to Krejci who, despite having less than blazing open ice speed, managed to skate in on goaltender Mike Smith with the Coyotes in hot pursuit. With Brett Connolly also driving the net up the middle of the ice, his presence forced Arizona d-man Nicklas Grossman to shift away from Krejci to take away the pass. The B’s veteran and top scorer then deftly moved the puck from his backhand to the forehand and then roofed a shot into the net to give his club a 1-0 lead.
Jimmy Hayes added to the lead in the second frame by finishing off the rebound of a Matt Beleskey shot after Ryan Spooner gained the zone with a slick move to stay onside. Hayes put home his third goal of the year to give his team some breathing room.
Defenseman Joe Morrow added a late goal, his first of the year when he gained the zone and snapped a high wrist shot from high in the slot into the top corner. It was a classic Morrow-like goal, as the former WHL standout defender has always been known for his ability to fire pucks on net.
Boston continued the dominance in the final frame when Brett Connolly scored his third goal in as many games when Brad Marchand streaked into the offensive zone along the left wall, pulled a defender to him and then put the puck back out into the middle of the ice where Connolly was trailing. He gathered it up and then zipped a laser on the stick side to give the B’s a commanding 4-0 lead. Patrice Bergeron drew the secondary assist on the play.
Marchand’s power play goal with some six minutes and change punctuated the danger of giving the B’s an extra man after John Scott was assessed a slashing penalty and 10-minute misconduct.
Krejci took a chip pass off the boards from Hayes to score his second goal of the game in the final minute, giving Boston the decisive 6-0 whitewash to earn that first ‘W’ at the TD Garden for 2015-16 in style. It gave him a stats line of 7-7-14 in eight games to go back on top of the NHL.
Tuukka Rask- Boston’s embattled veteran wasn’t tested all that much, but stood tall in his crease and answered the call after a poor showing against Philadelphia last week. This is the Rask that the Bruins and their fans expect to see every night and the shutout was the cherry on top, as he moves into a tie with Eddie Johnston for fourth place on Boston’s all-time list, and just five shutouts from moving into third place ahead of Tim Thomas. He’s got a long way to go before he catches franchise leader Cecil “Tiny” Thompson, however (74).
David Krejci- 8 games, points in all (14 total including a two-goal night and the game-winner on the opening tally). Krejci had seven goals in 47 games a year ago, he has seven markers in his first eight contests this time, and has the hungry look of a guy who is committed to justifying that big contract extension. Being healthy is key- but his smarts have always been there and he’s being much more aggressive in the way he attacks the net. He and Eriksson are really clicking together.
Loui Eriksson- Another solid performance from the savvy veteran who just goes out and makes plays without a lot of flash and fanfare. He’s been a leader in ice time for Boston forwards in the past four games and it comes down to his versatility and the trust Claude Julien has in him to play in any situation.
Brad Marchand- Wicked little game from Boston’s pepper pot. His assist on Connolly’s third period goal was a thing of beauty as he sucked the Arizona defender to him before sliding the puck back to a wide-open linemate for the score. He then used a Hayes screen in front a few minutes later to score on the power play. Can you say special teams maven?
Joe Morrow- Morrow is expected to provide some offense and push the pace for any club he’s on and he did it tonight. His goal was vintage Morrow, as he attempted a lead pass in the neutral zone, but it deflected back to him on a play by Arizona and in full gallop, he took it himself into the Coyotes’ zone and wired it over Smith’s glove.
Jimmy Hayes- He’s getting it done with another multi-point effort to seal a win. That it came in front of the home crowd is all the more sweeter for the big body who not only received an assist on the Marchand goal by moving the puck to him, but then went right to the front of the net and took away Smith’s sightlines so that Marchand’s shot could get by him high to the blocker side.
Ryan Spooner- Give Spooner (and Beleskey) credit- he returned to the third line after being demoted in the previous contest and made it work, getting the 5-on-5 goal with Hayes and making some good plays. He dished a fine backhand sauce pass that Beleskey was unable to handle in the first period, but if they keep at that one, it’ll go in sooner or later.
Kevan Miller- Let’s hope he didn’t suffer another devastating shoulder injury for his sake- no matter how effective you think he’s played of late, he doesn’t deserve a return to the extended IR like that.