Both the Boston and the Arizona entered Saturday night with something to prove. After starting off their season with a promising win over the Nashville Predators, the Bruins dropped both games of a home and home with the Colorado Avalanche. The Coyotes, coming into the night with a 0-4-1 record, were looking for their first win off a stumbling Boston team.
The opening frame started off slow with little more than a Jordan Martinook tripping penalty in the first ten minutes of play. The action picked up with less than five minutes left in the period when Anthony Duclair fired a shot from the top of the right circle through traffic to beat Anton Khudobin far side and put the Coyotes up 1-0.
Just 36 seconds later the Bruins responded when Zdeno Chara fired a shot from from the far hash-marks of the right circle. The puck hit David Pastrnak in front and deflected past goaltender Louis Domingue to tie the game 1-1.
Just as the Bruins killed off the remainder of the Pastrnak penalty, Jason Demers took a tripping penalty, sending the Bruins to the power play.
On the ensuing odd-man-advantage David Krejci, standing in the left circle, received a pass from Charlie McAvoy on the point and one-timed the puck on net. Jake DeBrusk deflected the shot in front under the glove of Domingue to put Boston up 2-1.
The pace picked up in the third period as Arizona attempted to close the scoring gap after allowing three goals in the second period. The Bruins and Coyotes exchanged hard hits but the score remained the same through the first half of the third period.
Tempers began to flare as the clock ticked in the second half of the third as Adam McQuaid starting shoving Arizona players in front of the Bruin goal. Incidentally from that same play Torey Krug took a slashing call with 4:48 remaining. On the ensuing power play Oliver Ekman-Larsson cut the lead to two with a shot on goal from the center of the blue line to beat Khudobin with 3:35 left in the period.
Boston would be quick to answer when Tim Schaller found the back of the net 23 seconds later hitting home a rebound off a Danton Heinen shot.
The Bruins weren’t done scoring yet. Ekman-Larsson was sent to the penalty box for hooking with two minutes left in the period. On the powerplay Anders Bjork would score with 1:24 remaining in regulation for his first goal in the National Hockey League.
The Coyotes took the advantage in shots 31-29. Boston won the slight majority of faceoffs with 50.7% win percentage. Each team had 34 hits.
It was refreshing to see Zdeno Chara contributing with a goal and two assists on the night, especially with rumors that the Bruins want to resign him for one or two more years. Anton Khudobin also had a strong performance with 29 saves on the night. Jake DeBrusk showed that he is capable of not being simply a flashy player and is willing to get to the front of the net to score gritty goals. Anders Bjork scored the first of his career as the third Bruins rookie to join the goal column in the 2017-18 campaign.
Boston takes on the expansion Vegas Golden Knights Sunday. Vegas is 3-1 to start the season and has impressed many so far. After playing an Arizona team that is still trying to get its footing it will be interesting to see how the Bruins fair against a new team running on ton of emotion.