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Talking Points: Third Line Gives Winning Effort For Boston Bruins



Boston Bruins

Here are the Talking Points from the Boston Bruins 3-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes at TD Garden on Saturday night as a surging Boston improves to 9-1-1 in their last 11 games.

GOLD STAR: Craig Smith has been on fire over the last few weeks and that continued on Saturday with the red-hot right wing scoring each of the first two goals against the Coyotes in Boston building up a 2-0 lead. Smith now has seven goals and eight points in six games during the month of March and has fired an impressive 20 shots on net over that time period. What’s amazing is that Smith had six goals over the first five months of the season and has more than doubled that with his output this month while raising the profile of Boston’s “3-2-1 Contact” third line over the last few weeks. It makes sense that Smith is now finally cashing in after a tough luck start to his regular season, and things are finally balancing out for the hustling second-effort winger.

BLACK EYE: Jakob Chychrun has been one of the most popular name mentioned in trade rumors with the Boston Bruins as they look to upgrade the left side of their defense. Apparently, the left side of the defense is taking issue with this as Derek Forbort nailed Chychrun with a big hit that knocked the Coyotes defenseman out of the game after just 10 shifts. The Coyotes defenseman finished with 5:51 of ice time and had zeroes across the board (points, shots, hits, blocked shots) while barely getting his feet wet during the game.

TURNING POINT: Things looked a little hairy for the Boston Bruins late in the game as they were protecting a slim one-goal lead and the Coyotes pulled their goalie. It was a combination of solid goaltending from Jeremy Swayman, some good puck luck as Lawson Crouse couldn’t get a quality shot off in a good spot in the closing seconds and good defense by Tomas Nosek, Patrice Bergeron and Charlie Coyle all put together on a forward line to close out the game. That’s a pretty good adjustment from the Boston Bruins coaching staff to some of the blown leads we’ve seen late in third periods over the last few weeks.

HONORABLE MENTION: Charlie Coyle with the game-winner in the final minutes of the third period as he took the puck straight to the net rather than trying to set up one of his teammates. It worked as Coyle scored on the backhander, and now has two goals and six points in six games during the month of March while centering a third line with Trent Frederic and Craig Smith that’s been electric over the last few weeks. Coyle finished with a goal, two points and a plus-2 rating in 14:57 of ice time with three shots on net, four shot attempts, a takeaway, a blocked shot and 7-of-15 faceoff wins in a strong all-around effort.

BY THE NUMBERS: 18 – the number of consecutive wins for the Boston Bruins over the Arizona Coyotes that now dates back almost a decade. It is the second longest winning streak in NHL history (Montreal beat Washington 23 straight times from 1974-78) and the longest active winning streak for one franchise over another.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “There’s a lot of times where I don’t think shot, but I should.” –Charlie Coyle, who potted the game-winner in the final minutes of the third period by driving the net and firing a backhander past Arizona goaltender Karel Vejmelka.

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