BOSTON - Grinding out games may be the Bruins' formula for the foreseeable future.
With injuries ravaging Boston's lineup, the B's know they will have to find different ways to win. High-scoring, wide-open games are not very conducive to a team relying on a roster laced with youth and inexperience.
And so Boston's performance against the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night is one that everyone should probably start getting used to.
"We talked about this the other day," said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, "there's going to be times it might not look pretty but if we can get through those stretches, play through them and then get back on our game…I think tonight was a good example of that."
Riley Nash and Sean Kuraly provided some secondary scoring as the Bruins buckled down defensively in a 2-1 victory over the Golden Knights in the teams' inaugural matchup at TD Garden. Boston (3-0-3) has now secured points in six consecutive games.
"Very hard fought game as you could see on the scoreboard," said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. "It was obviously [tied] for most of the game and a lot of battles, a lot of physicality. Not that many pretty plays, some breakdowns, goalies played well.
"Overall I thought we played a really good team, they've been playing really good hockey since the start of the season, so great challenge for us. We got the two points and it's nice to win games like this."
Video: Nash, Kuraly propels Bruins past Golden Knights, 2-1
The tallies from Nash (his first of the season) and Kuraly (his first career regular season goal) were encouraging contributions from players who will be asked to provide a bit more with the likes of David Backes, David Krejci, and Ryan Spooner out of the lineup.
"I think it's important," said Kuraly. "Obviously, I've got to keep it simple and steady. We're missing some key guys and it's just important for me to try and do my job and not do too much and come out of my role."
Kuraly grabbed the winner with a gritty effort around the net. After Tim Schaller carried the puck into the offensive zone, Torey Krug collected it and fired a shot that was blocked by Vegas blue liner Brayden McNabb. Krug regained the puck and threw it toward goal, where it tipped off Jake DeBrusk's stick and bounced to the net.
That's where Kuraly knocked it past Max Lagace, all while taking a cross-check from behind into the left post by McNabb with 10:03 to go.
"I think it's important and that's what I've got to do to help this team push it in the right direction, push the game in our favor, and tonight I was lucky enough to find one on the doorstep," said Kuraly. "If you keep going to those spots I think you'll keep finding them, and I kind of felt it coming tonight, felt the puck coming around the net and kept coming to me.
"I think you just keep working and doing the right things and treating the game with respect, it kind of respects you."
Video: VGK@BOS: Kuraly jams home a loose puck in tight
It was Kuraly's first goal since grabbing two in Boston's double-overtime win over the Ottawa Senators in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series last spring.
"It was a very big goal," said Tuukka Rask, who made 28 saves in his second win of the season. "He scored that last one in the playoffs. He's had some chances and finally gets rewarded. I think everyone is just excited to see his celebrations after it because he likes to jump pretty high."
Boston opened the scoring with a similarly persistent type of goal. Nash won a faceoff to Austin Czarnik (recalled on an emergency basis from Providence on Thursday morning), who slipped a feed to Torey Krug at the right point.
Krug (two assists) ripped a wrister on goal. Nash clanked the rebound off the far post, before Czarnik backhanded one back toward the net. It was then that Nash collected the puck and potted his second attempt by Lagace for a 1-0 lead just 3:24 into the second period.
"It's been crazy, you know, you come to the rink and you see two new faces almost every day, so it's nice for those young guys to get a chance, but you know we've all got a lot to improve," said Nash. "I think everyone's doing a good job pulling on the rope and just finding chemistry as fast as possible."
Video: VGK@BOS: Nash cashes in on rebound to open scoring
Cody Eakin tied the game some six minutes later, but that was all the Golden Knights could manage.
"We get caught in our own end, they get chances, but for the most part they were just one-and-done," said Rask. "There weren't too many scrambles in front and if there were our D and forwards did a great job to clear rebounds out. Great tight match."