Jaroslav Halak, sitting for the Winter Classic, drew the start, and he was tested early. Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau and the rest of Calgary’s starting lines hemmed in the Bergeron line to burn off the first minute-plus of the game. Cassidy sent in the first fourth line of Sean Kuraly - Noel Acciari - Chris Wagner to clear the zone.
Just over five minutes into the game, Calgary took back-to-back penalties just five seconds apart - first, a trip by Michael Frolik, then a near-immediate high-sticking penalty by Elias Lindholm that cut Brad Marchand. The Bruins had almost two full minutes of five-on-three PP time, before Frolik stepped onto the ice, followed while Mark Jankowski skated the puck in, and buried the rebound to tally the ninth shorthanded goal against Boston this season, putting Calgary ahead 1-0.
Before the second penalty ended, though, John Moore got even with a wicked wristah.
With minutes to play in the first, Jake DeBrusk tipped home a long wrist shot from Krejci at the point to put Boston ahead, 2-1.
The score would hold, and both teams avoided any penalties to send the game to intermission.
Early on, energy up. ANOTHER pass to Gaudreau between the Boston D on his attacking blue line led to a golden scoring chance, and though Gaudreau didn’t finish the play, his linemate Lindholm skated in to poke home
Halak ’s foot the puck.
Lindholm and the referees were apparently the only ones in the building that didn’t think that puck was covered. Bruce Cassidy challenged for goalie interference, but it wouldn’t hold.
Less than a minute later, Boston would avenge Halak’s toenails by way of a nifty snap-pass from Krug at the point to Marchand at the side of the net.
Things started to get chippy near the midway point, as Kevan Miller laid the hurt on Frolik, who got up and yelled but then retreated to the bench. Austin Czarnik skated too close to an aggravated Chara and drew a penalty from the big man, putting Calgary on the power play.
Boston would return the early penalty favors from Calgary by taking two quick ones of their own - a high stick from Jake DeBrusk and a too-many-men served by Danton Heinen. Boston successfully killed them off, and in the waning minutes of the second, Marchand and Lindholm each took another minor penalty, setting the stage for an abbreviated power play for Boston at the start of the third.
With the 4-on-4 expired and Calgary’s penalty kill foursome retreating, Torey Krug and David Pastrnak executed the Hail Mary. Krug’s icing-length dump-in ricocheted perfectly to Pastrnak cutting through the left circle, negating the icing and giving him a 1-on-1 with Mike Smith. He did not miss. 4-2, Boston.
For a long stretch, both teams were able to stay out of the box, until Gaudreau - now with ten points in his last three games, following this one - would net the billiard shot from behind the net to draw Calgary back within one.
All of a sudden, it looked like the world was imploding as Pastrnak and Bergeron both looked as though they were injured a few minutes apart.
Fortunately, both returned to the bench in time to watch DeBrusk work some magic, putting Boston ahead by two once again.
Not going down easy, Calgary would draw within one YET AGAIN, off a lucky-for-a-beer-leaguer no-look chip-backhand from Mikael Backlund, top cheddar.
With little left to lose, the Flames pulled Smith with two minutes to play, and that would leave it open for Boston to wrap things up. Marchand doesn’t miss.
What a win! A stressful win, but a win nonetheless.
Next up - the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night at 7pm!