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Talking Points: Strange Ending Sinks Boston Bruins In Arizona

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Here are the Talking Points for the Boston Bruins 4-3 loss to the Arizona Coyotes at the very “intimate” Mullett Arena on Friday night before an announced crowd of 4.600 fans.

GOLD STAR: Arizona Coyotes netminder Karel Vejmelka was the difference-maker in a game where the Boston Bruins outshot the Coyotes by 46-16 margin over the course of the game. Again and again the Bruins hammered away at the Arizona goalie, including a second period sequence where David Pastrnak had a breakaway chance turned away and then Jake DeBrusk missed the net with another breakaway just seconds later, but Vejmelka didn’t give an inch while waiting for Arizona to take advantage of their opportunities at the other end. His .913 save percentage on the season is something else given the kind of porous defense usually being played in front of him and Vejmelka’s 43-save performance will just add to the strong season he’s having in the desert.

BLACK EYE: With Linus Ullmark rolling while coming off a strong performance against the Avalanche, it was interesting to see Jim Montgomery tap Jeremy Swayman as the starter against the Coyotes on Friday night. As it turns out it wasn’t the right choice as Swayman gave up four goals on 16 shots and was outplayed by Vejmelka. The worst sequence was the last one for Swayman, who didn’t play the puck on a possible icing that was waved off as soon as the puck went through the painted area of the crease and that turned into the last second game-winner for the Coyotes in a contest everybody thought was going to overtime. Chalk it up to experience for Swayman, who instead let the puck go hoping it would be icing and then watched as Derek Forbort coughed it up to Matias Maccelli feeding it to Lawson Crouse for the game-winner. It was a weird ending, but also appropriate for a Boston Bruins team that didn’t really play well enough to win.

TURNING POINT: Many will point to that final, somewhat controversial play in the third period when it didn’t seem like Jeremy Swayman was sure whether it would or wouldn’t be icing as the puck crossed over the edge of the painted area in the crease. According to the actual icing rule, the puck going through the crease should have no bearing on the ultimate call and Swayman was playing it that way. But it was immediately waved off and that put Derek Forbort in an extremely tough spot where a proactive Swayman may have been able to throw the puck into the corner and helped the Bruins kill off the remaining 15 or so seconds while playing for the 3-on-3 overtime. Instead of being ready for the worst-case scenario, Forbort was caught flat-footin the final seconds that led to Arizona making a play for the game-winner. It was a strange end to an odd game for the Boston Bruins, but what do you expect with two NHL teams playing at a college arena that seats 5,000 people?

HONORABLE MENTION: David Pastrnak played well with a one-timer that put the Boston Bruins on the board early, a game-high nine shots on net and 13 shot attempts overall in a pretty wide-open game against Arizona where the B’s had tons of shots on net, Grade-A scoring chances and other opportunities. Pastrnak had a breakaway chance in the second period that he wasn’t able to finish off among his other great scoring opportunities, but that was par for the course for the Boston Bruins on a night when they had tons of chances that didn’t go in the net.

BY THE NUMBERS: 19 – the long and storied winning streak for the Boston Bruins over the Coyotes dating back to the 2010 game between the two teams in Prague is now officially over after Friday night.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “We thought it should have been icing. That shouldn’t matter. The only thing that should wave it off is if the D-man can touch the puck before it crosses over [the goal line].” –Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery.

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