By: Jeremy Perrigo
Vegas came to Boston Thursday hoping to snap their first two-game losing streak in franchise history. The Golden Knights lost back-to-back games in New York against the Islanders (6-3) Monday and Rangers (6-4) on Tuesday. The Bruins have taken a point out of each of their last two games, losing to LA (2-1) in overtime Saturday and Columbus (4-3) in a shootout Monday. They hoped to exact revenge against the NHL’s newest franchise after dropping a 3-1 decision on October 15 in Sin City.
It took Vegas nine minutes to get their first shot on net. They caught a break when they were given two power plays in the first period off Patrice Bergeron and Matt Beleskey tripping calls. The Golden Knights failed to convert both opportunities.
The Bruins had a hard time getting pucks on net themselves in the first 20 minutes, generating only five shots to Vegas’ eight. The score remained 0-0 after the first period.
The Bruins would be the first team to light the lamp as Reilly Nash scored 3:24 into the period off a rebound in front of goaltender Maxime Lagace after a wild sequence that had the Vegas netminder scrambling in net.
It was evident that the Bruins’ coaching staff took note of the fact that the B’s had only five shots in the first, because to start the second Boston was throwing everything on net, and the work paid off with the first goal of the night.
The Golden Knights answered back with a tally of their own just before the halfway mark. Nate Schmidt picked the pocket of Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk, cut back towards the Boston net, and fired a pass from left-to-right finding winger Cody Eakin to one-time the puck past Tuukka Rask.
The tempo of the game picked up in the second frame, as both teams traded prime scoring opportunities, including a puck scraped off the goal line by Bruins’ defenseman Paul Postma.
Despite quality chances, the score would remain the same, Boston and Vegas tied 1-1 after 20 minutes.
Shots during the second period favored the Bruins 15-12.
The Bruins came out fast, generating multiple scoring chances in front of the Vegas net. They finally found the back of the net when Sean Kuraly went to the crease, shoveling a puck past Lagace before the net came off its moorings. This was the first regular season goal of Kuraly’s career. Kuraly had scored his first two NHL goals in the playoffs in a 3-2 double OT win against the Ottawa Senators last season.
The Golden Knights pushed back as they did after the Bruins’ first goal in the second period. James Neal and Jonathan Marchessault had multiple chances of their own for Vegas, while at the other end of the ice David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand attempted to give Boston the first two-goal lead of the night.
With just about a minute and a half left in the third period, Vegas pulled Lagace in hopes of tying the game off of a last-second goal. With a couple close chances from Schmidt and Alex Tuch, the Golden Knights were unable to tie up the game as the Bruins ran out the clock to take the two points.
Final Score: Boston 2 / Vegas 1
Vegas narrowly outshot Boston 29-28. The Bruins held slight majority in the faceoff dot, winning 50.8% of draws.
Next Game: Saturday, November 4th vs. the Washington Capitals
Tuukka Rask had a solid performance stopping 28 of 29 shots. The Bruins’ goals came off of hard efforts from third and fourth line players Reilly Nash and Sean Kuraly. Vegas did a solid job shutting down Boston’s first line of Marchand, Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron, creating a chance for the Bruins’ “grunts”, as head coach Bruce Cassidy appropriately named them, to step up.
Jordan Szwarz, who was recalled Wednesday, was needed as the B’s continue to miss forwards Noel Acciari (broken finger) David Backes (colon surgery - complication of diverticulitis), David Krejci (upper body) and Ryan Spooner (torn adductor). Szwarz had three shots and played 12:13 in the game. He was another Bruin that stepped up when called upon for the injury-plagued Bruins.