Though we started off pretty strong, just as the second Bruins forward shift was ending, Vegas pulled up in the neutral zone and it froze the forecheck. Mark Stone received a pass with some speed and stickhandled right under Zdeno Chara, firing a backhand shot past Jaroslav Halak. The game was less than two minutes old and Boston had a deficit.
The Vegas Golden Knights took two penalties after this - first an interference penalty by Nic Hague, followed by a trip from Mark Stone - but Boston couldn’t capitalize. Matt Grzelcyk had a real NEAT give-and-go by attacking the slot, dishing to the dot and going straight to the net as time expired on Stone’s penalty. No luck, but a good drive. Oh, and it should go without saying most nights, but the B’s top line gave the Knights fits in the attacking zone.
Where there was a challenge early on, though, was Vegas’ ability to clog passing lanes, and they did it especially well on the power play. There were not many shots that got through, or got to their deflection/screen targets.
Fortunately, our lawd and savior Jeremy Lauzon took matters into his own hands just past the midpoint of the frame, launching a long shot that at first looked like Danton Heinen got a piece of it, but no luck from the young forward. The younger defenseman tied the game after David Krejci protected the puck and got it to the point, with the secondary assist going to Karson Kuhlman.
Chara took a tripping penalty with about four minutes to go, and some strong play from the PK kept things tied. Lauzon ended up with more playing time than Chara through the first period as a result - and Cassidy sent him out with under 20 seconds remaining to close out the period.
Two penalties by Vegas early in the frame yielded nothing on the advantage for Boston, taking them well into their fourteenth power play without a goal. It’s as though Charlie McAvoy doesn’t WANT to shoot the puck on net. (Sure, his shots are pretty much screened at the point, but still...)
Boston held the edge in shots, after leading through the first. That would continue to hold, though their inability to score on the power play was their undoing in this period. Nicolas Hague scored his first career goal on the Vegas advantage stemming from Brandon Carlo’s high sticking penalty, and appropriately, teammate Chandler Stephenson pulled the puck out of the net for the keepsake.
The second ended at 2-1, though not without some “adversity”. On the second Vegas penalty, David Krejci had all the time and space he could want to shoot the puck off of a rebound into the left circle, but opted to pass it to... no one? Maybe going for a deflection is his own way of creating his own luck. It didn’t work.
A scare in the B’s corner to Halak’s right involving McAvoy was fortunately short-lived, though It really did look like a risky check and a justified boarding penalty was called on Stephenson. McAvoy didn’t miss a shift but was clearly shaken in the moment. He made it to the bench under his own power.
We’ll just call this one here. On to the third.
...Started off a bit better. The B’s came out of a cannon, and immediately the Little Ball of Great mixed it up in the Vegas crease after a whistle, drawing Paul Stastny’s ire. Things looked a little shaky after things settled down, and though Vegas looked like they were going to get a breakaway chance with Anders Bjork barely leading in a footrace on the backcheck, Jaro made the risky play to come put and pass the puck back out of his zone. It bounced around a bit, landed within Charlie Coyle’s reach, and he chipped it to his right as he turned back towards his zone. There, Jake DeBrusk had SPEED, and he worked his way down the left wing before firing home a strong shot to tie the game at 2. Halak ended up with the assist.
The game was moving well, and it made for much entertainment. However, Grzelcyk going down at halfway through the frame clutching his arm and going straight for the tunnel was NOT what anybody hoped for. He definitely was hurting, very slow to get up and looked to be favoring his left elbow/arm. It looked like it was off the check, and i’m sure landing on it wasn’t helpful.
At least Krejci would avenge him. He looked uncovered despite being so close to Fleury that the goalie could have poke-checked him. No matter, as the Older Czech David waited out the goalie and his “backup” to fire it home and put Boston in front with under eight minutes to play.
Though it looked like Boston went into the defensive shell a little early, it paid off, and Fleury was pulled for the extra attacker before 1:30 to go. He had to return for a faceoff, and then stayed on the bench for another; Pastrnak and Carlo went for the long drifting shots without any luck. Though Vegas had a good press, and an amazing dive-and-wave-the-stick block from Stone in the waning seconds to keep the game within one, there just wasn’t enough time to find the tying tally.
And thus begins the All-Star break, rolled into a bye week, for the Bruins. We’ll get some more coverage out to you over the next week-plus so don’t fret - Bruins coverage won’t be far away!
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