WINNIPEG, Manitoba — The Bruins thought they’d be entering Sunday’s third period saddled with a 2-1 deficit. In the final minute of the second, Evander Kane knocked home his own rebound to give the Jets the one-goal edge.
“You think you’re going to be coming into the dressing room down by a goal,” said coach Claude Julien. “This isn’t an easy building to play in to start with.”
But a game-tying goal with 1.5 seconds remaining in the period was the difference-maker. The Bruins, energized by the 2-2 score after 40 minutes, netted the game-winner in the third to claim a 3-2 win before 15,004 at the MTS Centre. Brad Marchand scored the power-play strike.
The game turned for the Bruins late in that second period after some strong wall work by Chris Bourque and Chris Kelly. The two forwards overwhelmed Alexander Burmistrov along the boards to win the puck battle. Kelly fed Johnny Boychuk at the right point.
At the same time, Daniel Paille did what he’s been coached to do: go to the front of the net. Boychuk, trying to get Kane to hit the deck, pumped once. Kane didn’t bite. Boychuk faked another slap shot. Kane stayed on his feet.
Finally, on his third attempt, Boychuk fired a shot toward the slot. Paille, who had gained some separation from Dustin Byfuglien, tipped Boychuk’s blast past Ondrej Pavelec (23 saves). With one slick placement of his blade, Paille turned a grim situation into a 2-2 game.
“That was huge,” said Tyler Seguin. “Going into a period, you want to have momentum from the end of the period. That was a tough goal by them. Then a quick turnaround gave us the momentum going into intermission. Great play by Boychuk.”
Paille is usually on the fourth line with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton. But Julien promoted Paille to the third line against the Jets. Rich Peverley started the game on the first line in place of Milan Lucic, who returned to Boston Saturday because of a personal reason. Paille skated in Peverley’s spot on the No. 3 unit.
Paille answered his coach’s call, playing a season-high 17:09 and scoring on one of his two shots. He also played an important role on the penalty kill. The Jets went 0 for 2 on the power play. Paille, killing alongside Campbell, helped to keep Winnipeg’s up-one men off the scoresheet.
The Jets landed only one power-play shot on Tuukka Rask (22 saves) in four minutes. The most critical kill took place in the third period after Peverley was sent off for tripping.
“We know it’s not going to be like that all the time,” Paille said. “It was an unfortunate break that we took one. But we’ve got to kill those, especially late in the game. Everyone seems to be playing perimeter hockey and staying in the center of the zone. We’re really clicking on the penalty kill. We don’t want to stop that.”
As crisp as the Bruins have played on the PK, they haven’t showed the same efficiency on the power play. The Bruins entered the night with the second-worst power play in the league.
Sunday, the Jets only took one penalty. Just nine seconds into the third, Ron Hainsey was forced to take a tripping penalty to break up Marchand’s close-range bid. With the score tied at 2, the Bruins knew they had to convert on what would be their only opportunity.
“There’s a lot of pressure that comes from the outside, and there’s a lot of pressure that comes from the inside,” Julien said of the power play. “Guys want to do well. At the same time, I think it’s important to understand that how hard we execute and how hard we compete is what makes things happen. We needed to move the puck a little quicker and crisper.”
Several games earlier, the Bruins had met to discuss the power play. The emphasis was on results, not just chances.
“We were doing a pretty good job of moving the puck around and creating opportunities,” Marchand said. “But at the end of the day, if you don’t score, then it’s useless. So it was more about just burying opportunities.”
The Jets, who had the league’s worst PK (67.4 percent kill rate), didn’t do much to slow the Bruins’ second unit. Bourque started the play with a clean breakout. He gave the puck to Patrice Bergeron, who faced little resistance in the neutral zone. Because the Jets sagged back on the kill, Bergeron and Marchand were at full gallop when they crossed the blue line.
Bergeron hit Marchand with an in-stride pass. Marchand split the Winnipeg defense and snapped a backhander on goal that sailed over Pavelec’s glove.
“Pretty basic,” Marchand said of the execution. “It’s things we’ve worked on, trying to find holes and trying to use speed. It’s an example of when you execute it right, it will work.”