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Bruins Not Perfect, But In Habit of Winning

Rask improves to 9-1-0; Pastrnak and Spooner score in 2-1 win over Arizona

by Caryn Switaj @NHLBruins /

DENVER, Colo. - The Bruins did what they needed to do on Saturday night in Arizona.

They earned a 2-1 win over the Coyotes to begin their three-game road trip through Arizona, Colorado and Minnesota against Western Conference opponents.

As David Backes often says, they "packed the two points," and had a happy plane ride to Colorado.


The Bruins started the night strong, putting up 27 shot attempts in the first period alone, but the game stayed scoreless heading to the second.

Ryan Spooner broke through at 7:54 into the middle frame, with a Zdeno Chara shot from the slot going off his skate and in behind Coyotes netminder Loui Domingue. It marked his third goal of the season, and the first one five-on-five.


David Krejci picked up his seventh assist. Backes didn't earn an assist, but he accelerated the play with a strong forecheck behind the net. The goal put the Bruins up 1-0.

Video: BOS@ARI: Spooner deflects in Chara's shot


"Well, we played a good first period, there's no doubt there. I liked our first. We did the things we had to do," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said following the game. "But, you know, we came out in the second, looked like we were a team that thought it was going to be an easy night, and stopped doing the things that we'd done so well."


"So I wasn't very pleased with the rest of our game there from the second and third period. You know, we let them back in of our own doing, because we stopped doing the things that worked and we thought we were going to get an easy night there, and we're fortunate to come out of here with two points."


"It's important to us, we'll take it, but we need to be better moving forward."


The Bruins have won two straight games and three of their past four, with the lone loss coming 3-2 to the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night in the final minute. The wins have come over Buffalo (4-0), Columbus (5-2) and now Arizona (2-1). They are 5-2-0 in their past seven games.


While Saturday night against the Coyotes wasn't their best effort of the week, they still pulled out the win.

After Spooner's goal, David Pastrnak fired in his team-leading 10th goal of the season to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead about two minutes later, at 9:44 into the second. The tally put Pastrnak into a tie for second in the league in scoring (Sidney Crosby, Mark Scheifele).

Video: BOS@ARI: Pastrnak cranks a one-timer past Domingue


The only puck that got by Tuukka Rask was a shot by Radim Vrbata from the left circle on the power play at 12:05 into the third period. The Bruins had killed their previous two penalties of the night. They did not have a power play.


Though it felt like the Bruins had the game in hand, the Coyotes naturally made a strong push in the third period, outshooting the Black & Gold 15-7, with Vrbata finding the back of the net.


Overall, the Bruins had 61 shot attempts.


"We had a tough game finding the back of the net and I think these kinds of games, getting that first goal is very big, and we managed to get that" said Rask, who made 31 saves in the win.


"I guess the stats show it, too, but when you score first, I think the odds are better. We used to not play with the lead in the past couple of years and that's kind of comfortable for us, but it helps that we play good defense and keep the goals against down."


Scoring first helped, but the Bruins know they could have given themselves a more comfortable lead.

"We need to have a better nose for the net, to bear down and score on those opportunities," said Julien. "At the same time, it's the first time I've seen our team go back so much with the puck."


"We're a team that plays north and tonight, we wanted to play south and got cute with our regroups and pucks were taking bad bounces and then we were getting ourselves in trouble, so we need to be better."


Julien wants to see better puck movement from his team going forward.


"It's not the game I had been accustomed to in the last week or so," said the bench boss. "So, you know, we can't be satisfied with just the two points. We've got to make sure that we understand that the game's got to be better."


Rask Improves to 9-1-0


With the win, Rask improved to 9-1-0 on the season.


While it looked as if the Bruins were in control, it didn't translate to Rask having an easy night.


"No. They had some chances, even in the first they had some good chances, right off the bat, the first shot was a good chance," said Rask. "Then in the second, there were a couple of good ones, then in the third a lot of scrambles and a lot of screen shots, and luckily we blocked a couple of shots and I was able to save a couple, but definitely not easy."


The Bruins have won their last eight contests against the Coyotes and have not lost in Arizona since a 4-1 defeat on Oct. 17, 2009.


"It's just one of those things, you know, we come here once a year so the odds are I guess 50-50," said Rask. "I think some teams come to Boston and they dominate us too, so we know how it feels."

Video: BOS@ARI: Rask turns aside Martinook's backhand


Chara Records 400th NHL Assist


The Bruins' first goal was originally credited to Chara, who fired from the slot with traffic in front. By the time the third period started, it had been changed to Spooner's goal since it brushed his skate and went in.


"I was just happy that we scored," said Spooner. "I was just trying to get to the front of the net and just catch it behind the net and Zee kind of jumped into the slot there and I thought maybe he was going to try and move it backdoor and I just tried to get to the front and it hit the inside of my skate."


While the goal would have been Chara's second of the season, he instead was credited with an assist, giving him his 400th career assist.


Carlo Drops the Gloves


Brandon Carlo dropped the gloves for the first time in the NHL when he had a dust-up with the Coyotes' Brad Richardson.


Richardson hit Carlo along the bench, and Carlo gave him a shove.


"We were right there by the bench. He just gave me a little bit of a hit there and I gave him a little shove back and then it kind of just progressed from there," said Carlo. "I mean, I feel like I have a little bit of pushback in my game, just wasn't going to back down there, so his gloves came off, mine came off, and went from there."


It was mostly a wrestling match, and though they were pinned along the bench, Carlo almost got in a big right.

"Yeah, absolutely. It would have been nice if I had caught him with that one, but overall, I felt like we both held our own in that fight, and yeah, didn't go too bad," he said.


Carlo returns home to Colorado on Sunday, with the Colorado Springs native set to face his hometown team for the first time.

Video: Julien, Bruins discuss 2-1 win In Arizona

On to Colorado


The Bruins were not planning to hold a pregame skate on Sunday morning, with game time against the Avalanche set for 5:00 p.m. local (7:00 p.m. ET/NESN,100.7 WZLX).


Not only will the Bruins be playing the second leg of a back-to-back against the Avs, but they will also be finishing up a stretch of five games in seven days.


"[We] just [have to] continue with our same structure," said Carlo. "We've been on an uphill climb right now, and we just want to continue on that right path."


"Everything has been going well for us, everybody has been contributing and playing their game and doing their jobs, so just continue to do the things that we have been doing."


Sunday will also be a good opportunity to show their bench boss that they aren't getting complacent.


"The thing is, you don't want those habits to creep into your game, so that's what we're trying to make sure that doesn't happen here, so [Sunday] night's an important game for us."

Video: Spooner, Pastrnak tally to lead Bruins in 2-1 win

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