Forward Patrice Bergeron
was sent to the box for an uncharacteristic hooking penalty, and the pressure was on the Bruins to kill the man-advantage without Rich Peverley
, who flew home to attend personal matters.
Head Coach Claude Julien turned to forward Zach Hamill
to step up, and he was impressed with his efforts on the penalty kill.
“Hamill went out there and we did a great job at taking away the shot and forcing them to move to the outside,” said Julien. “That was a great kill. They did a great job and after we killed that, I felt really confident in our team finding a way to win.
"If we were going to lose that game, it probably would’ve been right there.”
The Bruins, who have killed 86.1 percent of penalties (seventh in NHL), survived the two-minute test and worked their way to the shootout victory.
The win wasn’t quite reminiscent of the B's 8-0 pre-holiday goal-scoring extravaganza, but Julien said he’ll take it.
“Our battle was better but our sharpness and decision-making wasn’t,” Julien said. “When things are tough, you got to find way to win and I think our guys did a good enough job and found a way get the win.
“You take wins for what they’re worth right at this time of year – I’m certainly not going to complain about that.
"Hopefully, our sharpness is better [versus Tampa Bay] and we can start climbing up again.”
The biggest pitfall of the win was the four breakaways, which Julien attributed to a lack of communication, but he applauded Tuukka Rask
for his efforts.
One of the breakaway attempts trickled in, but Rask made 38 saves in the contest.
“As much as it was pretty even scoring chances, it’s the quality of chances we gave them,” Julien said. “When it comes to four breakaways, those are clean-cut scoring chances.
"Tuukka did a great job of keeping us in there, and he bailed us out at the end with other breakaways. He was one of the stars on our team.”
Forward David Krejci
, who scored the game-winning goal in the shootout, said that the breakdowns aren’t acceptable.
“We gave them too many breakaways,” he said. “We gave them four and they scored on one.
"That can’t happen anymore, it’s too many in one game and we have to make sure we do the little details right and don’t turn the puck over on the blue line.
"But we got the win and that’s a good thing.”
The Bruins will look to stay sharp tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning (17-23-4), and Rask said it’s important to put the mistakes from last night behind them.
With the All-Star break approaching, he stressed the importance of the upcoming games.
“[Monday] they had four, which is really uncharacteristic for us, but we have to move on and get the next win,” Rask said. “There’s still a lot to prove, I think there’s [four] games left before the All-Star beak and we really want to finish these games on a good note and be able to enjoy the break.”--- Anthony Gulizia