Here are the Talking Points from the Boston Bruins 2-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on Friday night.
GOLD STAR: The Boston Bruins goaltending situation has been a bit destabilized as of late by the play of a rusty, and now injured, Tuukka Rask, but Linus Ullmark made certain to bring a steadying presence between the pipes while on the road in Arizona. It was Ullmark that made 10 saves in the final period against the Coyotes with them desperate for the game-tying goal and was pretty excellent throughout in a 31-save effort where the Boston Bruins did not have a lot of energy to compete in front of him. Who would have that Ullmark would be the guy holding things together with Tuukka Rask struggling, and Jeremy Swayman in the minors, after the Swedish netminder got off to a very slow start in Boston. Ullmark even had a last-second save against Lawson Crouse wide open from the high slot to preserve the one-goal win for the Black and Gold.
BLACK EYE: It’s been a rough patch for Anton Blidh, who has been in and out of the lineup due to injuries and was busted out open by a friendly fire high stick in the second period. Coyotes forward Nick Schmaltz was initially charged with a high-sticking double minor as a result, but a video review showed that Charlie McAvoy actually clipped the B’s fourth liner with an errant, high stick. Blidh was cut open and bleeding on the ice as he quickly rushed off for repairs in the second straight Boston Bruins game where a player was busted open and bleeding on the ice. The good news was that Blidh returned to regular duty in the third period after getting worked on by the Bruins training staff.
Charlie McAvoy catches Anton Blidh in the face with his stick: pic.twitter.com/JWah5taGe3
— Blake Thorne (@_BlakeThorne) January 29, 2022
TURNING POINT: The Boston Bruins didn’t play a great game against an Arizona team simply playing out the string, but they did have their best players step up when they needed to at the key spots in the game. It was Brad Marchand that drew a tripping call on Shayne Gostisbehere in the second period and then it was Patrice Bergeron winning an offensive zone draw before Marchand and David Pastrnak touched it on the PP prior to a Charlie McAvoy game-winning goal. It was McAvoy that stepped into the top of the face-off circle from his point spot and finished off the Brad Marchand dish and made it all four of the best players on the B’s roster that touched the puck before the game-winner in the second period.
HONORABLE MENTION: Erik Haula has been gaining traction as an offensive producer to go along with a solid second line center between David Pastrnak and Taylor Hall, and he got the Boston Bruins on the board on Friday night. It was David Pastrnak picking the puck away from Arizona defenseman Anton Stralman and then dangling through Arizona defenders before feeding Haula in the slot. It was Haula’s fifth goal of the season to go along with three shots on net, a hit and 6-of-8 face-off wins in 11:48 of ice time in Friday’s victory. Haula’s numbers are starting to go up as he’s on pace for 10 goals and 35 points this season, but there’s zero doubting he can even elevate higher than he has to this point.
BY THE NUMBERS: 9 – the number of shot attempts for Phil Kessel, who was active against his former Boston Bruins team and had a number of scoring chances in a good audition for a player that may be available at the trade deadline.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “All in all, I think we’re trending in the right direction. In the second half you’re traditionally playing your best hockey and we absolutely hope that’s the case for us.” –Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy.