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RECAP: Boston ends homestand with a 4-1 win over the Golden Knights

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So many positives to draw from this game. Lower forward lines clicking. Rookie defenseman getting more and more comfortable. Goalie brought in as backup stabilizing on a nightly basis.

NHL: Vegas Golden Knights at Boston Bruins
Torey Krug had a game-high six shots on goal, and has assists in his last three games.
Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

With a midday injury announcement for Brandon Carlo, Jeremy Lauzon got the call once again. Lauzon has filled in well for the heavily-depleted Bruins defensive corps, and it would prove to be a lucky night for the kid.

First Period

A bit disheveled at the drop of the puck, but Boston got a handle on their offensive flow quickly, generating several chances on odd-man rushes by making smart chips and passes. On one of these, Danton Heinen flipped the puck ahead of Anders Bjork, who corralled the pass while Heinen charged the net. Bjork’s backhand feed was perfectly placed and Heinen didn’t miss. 1-0, Boston.

A string of penalties in the middle of the frame slowed down any offense for either team, as both teams played great on the kill. Steve Kampfer got his stick blade under somebody’s skate again, taking a silly tripping call.

With about two minutes to go, Boston had numbers going Vegas’ way, including Jeremy Lauzon who had jumped up with the rush. A bounce from the end boards came close enough for Malcolm Subban to put out his stick, but it hopped right through him, giving Lauzon the tap-in for the first goal of his career! 2-0, Boston, and the youth movement keeps on coming.

Second Period

A Brad Marchand PP goal to start things off within the first minute, after Boston nearly squandered all of that man advantage time. 3-0, B’s.

Then, something happened to the Bruins in the middle of the second. Vegas’ offensive zone time looked almost like they had a power play - not elsewhere on the ice, but Boston was clearly allowing them to pass the puck around the zone as long as it meant they didn’t take any shots. An icing or two later, and Vegas had the chances to put Boston on their heels. John Moore was a little bit careless carrying the puck out of the zone, allowing Alex Tuch to strip him and skate it around the net, making a nifty one-handed pass through the slot to Cody Eakin, who buried his chance.

Boston would get yet ANOTHER 5v3 chance after back-to-back penalties to Brayden McNabb and Tomas Nosek, though Boston was again a bit too patient in finding scoring chances. One positive note would be that their cross-ice passes were getting through the Vegas defenders with relative ease, but the one-time chances were instead caught and handled while the shooting chance evaporated. The power play, and the period, would end without much fanfare.

Third Period

Not much to report here; Boston came out poised and ready to hold the lead, so their offensive rushes were a little more measured than in the first two periods of the game.

At around 13 minutes to go, Vegas took a bench minor for a faceoff violation, and Boston tightened up their pass/shot ratio. David Backes and the second unit managed to maintain the zone for almost the full minute they covered. Not many shots, tough, as Boston continued to search for that perfect look.

Halak earned a bit of a break, as he’d already saved 34 by the midway point of the third; Boston kept the play away from him for the most part. With multiple penalties - including one you don’t see too often, a second tripping call on the delayed time for a tripping call. On the power play, David Pastrnak added the Bruins’ fourth goal of the night and scored his 16th of the season to lead the league.

With under four minutes to play, and some time penalty time left to kill for Vegas, Pasta’s goal would seal a victory for Boston.

Game Notes

  • David Pastrnak leads the NHL in goals (16) and is ahead of #2 by four (as of writing). Patrice Bergeron is leading the NHL in points right now. Brad Marchand needs to quit slouching. (I kid.)
  • For the second straight game, the energy level from Boston’s forward groups other than 63-37-88 brought significant jump to the game. Anders Bjork was a man possessed and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson has kept himself in positions to make smart plays defensively. One wonders if that will be a consistent contribution, and if that gives Bjork and Heinen a bit more comfort to make a forward-leaning play.
  • From the beginning, Jaro Halak had to be alert; Vegas is a fast team and they certainly had their fare share of chances. The goalie rightly earned his First Star of the Game honors as he put up another 35+ save performance for the second night in a row.
  • Throughout the game, Boston tightened down on defense, allowing fewer and fewer shots from the Golden Knights. After allowing 20 from Toronto and 15 from Vegas in the first periods of the last two games, they really need to work on being ready for the looks that other teams will be trying to take. Not sure if that’s video prep or starting a game with a different attitude (or both), but there’s some room for improvement and they might avoid some early deficits in the future.
  • Torey Krug fired six shots, the high for the game, and has assists in three straight. On the flip side of that coin, though he was absolutely buzzing all game, Anders Bjork was held without a shot. He DID set up some beautiful chances and Heinen’s first-period goal.

A few days off are in order, before Boston heads to Colorado to start another road trip. See ya Wednesday!

Shout out to Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs on Twitter) for not having a choice in us using all his GIFs. From one SB Nation colleague to another, thank you!