LAS VEGAS - Bruce Cassidy rolled the dice on Wednesday night in Vegas. And he came up with a lucky seven.
Boston's bench boss tapped the shoulder of David Backes in the sixth round of the shootout - the veteran's first attempt since 2016-17 - knowing that his heavy wrist shot could be an advantage against Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
Turns out the decision was money.
Backes ripped a wrister by Fleury's glove to secure a 3-2 victory over the Golden Knights and extend Boston's winning streak to seven games.
"I love it. I thought it was a great call," Cassidy said with a chuckle. "He's a shooter. We talked about he's pretty active, Fleury on the deke, so we decided to go with a couple shooters. It paid off."
Video: BOS@VGK: Backes seals shootout win for Bruins
Backes, who also landed four hits in 12:31 of ice time, admitted to being a tad surprised to get the call, which he said helped him not to overthink his strategy against one of the top netminders in the NHL.
"He's dynamite in shootouts. He's an all-world goalie all together, but in shootouts he's lights out," Backes said of Fleury. "I think the element of surprise, Butchy to me, probably helped me not to think about it at all and do what I do and shoot the puck."
The winning tally was yet another example of Boston's "no passengers" approach, which has helped fuel the Bruins' winning streak and a perfect 4-0 road trip with leading scorer David Pastrnak sidelined by injury.
"We're being resilient right now, finding ways to win," said Brad Marchand, who notched his 24th of the season with a blistering one-timer off a feed from Danton Heinen to give Boston a 2-1 lead at 1:09 of the third.
"This time of the year it's big when your top scorer goes down, you never know how guys are gonna respond, but I think guys have embraced it and are excited about the opportunity and making some big plays at the right time. "
Video: Bruins prevail in SO, win seventh straight
Shutting It Down
Jaroslav Halak was immense between the pipes, stopping 31 shots - and another five in the shootout - for his third straight victory. Halak's night was highlighted by breakaway stops of Paul Stastny and William Karlsson.
"I was just trying to face the shooter and trying to stop the puck obviously," Halak said of the breakaway saves. "It was a battle. I thought in the first period they were better than us…but I think as the game went on we started playing better."
Video: BOS@VGK: Halak shuts down Karlsson's breakaway bid
Halak is now 16-9-4 this season with a 2.33 goals against average and .924 save percentage, his standout first-season in Black & Gold creating a shutdown tandem with Tuukka Rask.
"Well, he's solid. Look at his numbers. We're fortunate every night," said Cassidy. "We feel we're gonna get good goaltending that gives us a chance to win. Tonight was no different. He is real good on breakaways and it showed."
Make it Five
Jake DeBrusk extended his goal streak to five straight games with a terrific spin-o-rama tally to open the scoring with 8:44 left in the first period. The winger took a feed from David Krejci in the slot, spun his body off a defender, and unleashed a wrister by Fleury.
"It's pure luck, to be honest with you," said DeBrusk, who also netted a nasty top-shelf marker in the first round of the shootout. "I didn't really know what I was doing. I tried to do what I did…I didn't try to do the 360 and turn, but I tried to get to my forehand at least. You understand you don't have that much time, but tried to elevate it and I just heard the bar."
Video: BOS@VGK: DeBrusk spins and nets a beauty
Coyle On Board
The Bruins announced towards the end of the first period the addition of 26-year-old forward Charlie Coyle from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for forward Ryan Donato and a conditional 2019 fifth-round pick. Coyle is a native of East Weymouth, Mass., and a former Boston University standout.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound right shot has produced 10 goals and 18 assists for 28 points with a plus-1 rating in 60 games with Minnesota this season. Cassidy believes Coyle can fit in playing either as the team's third-line center or as a right wing on one of the top two lines.
"Well he can either go in behind Bergy and Krech at center," said Cassidy. "I don't know the player as well as some in the organization, so we're gonna look to that. But we do feel there's a need there at third-line center. [Trent Frederic's] been doing well, but he's young. I've been told that that's his best position.
"Can he go up and play right wing, especially with [David Pastrnak] out? Yeah, he could play with Krech or Bergy/March, somewhere up in the lineup. We're fortunate. I think it's a good acquisition because of that.
"He can fill either hole, maybe both in the same game. He can move back and forth depending on the need. I think it's good for us, good size, good talent, young, so that's how I see him fitting in."
Video: Cassidy addresses media after B's acquire Coyle