The Bruins have come up with several winning formulas this season. Add another after a 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues Monday night.
The Bruins (11-2-0) struggled to get untracked almost from the start, fighting off three Blues power plays before Jake DeBrusk opened the scoring on a power play at 13:34. The Bruins’ game then fell back into the doldrums until the final period, when Patrice Bergeron’s power-play goal broke the deadlock and Trent Frederic finished it off.
This figured to be a good chance for the Bruins to get back on track after a 2-1 loss at Toronto Sunday. But the Blues (3-7-0) played most of the game like the team that won its first three games, before skidding to seven successive losses.
The Bruins’ penalty kill passed the test early, not only blanking the Blues, but allowing only three shots (one on goal — no shots on goal over a 12:36 span). It took the Bruins most of the opening period to get past their penchant for penalties, and once they did, DeBrusk came through with his fifth goal of the season. Brad Marchand set things up from the deep right circle, finding David Pastrnak at the back post, Pastrnak slipping a feed under 6-foot-6-inch Colton Parayko for DeBrusk to finish with a backhander in front.
“Any time we can get kills like that — especially in order,” DeBrusk said. “It seemed like we were in the box for the first little bit, there’s no rhythm or timing for multiple guys, so it’s one of those things you just try to do the job and kill the penalty and to be able get one on the power play right after was a good way to set the tone for our game. It always uplifts when guys are blocking shots.”
Brayden Schenn equalized, finishing off assists from Jordan Kyrou and former Bruin Torey Krug past Linus Ullmark glove-side at 11:37 of the second. The Bruins floundered during the second period, and when they appeared to be getting untracked, squandered two ,2-on-1s before David Krejci clanged the left post (18:34). Meanwhile, Ullmark preserved the deadlock, stopping a Kyrou breakaway at 15:32.
The Bruins earned a power play late in the final period, and Bergeron provided the go-ahead goal at 12:45. Bergeron won a faceoff, Krejci took possession at the point, found Marchand in the right circle, Marchand centering for Bergeron’s fifth goal of the season.
“They still find ways to make plays,” DeBrusk said of his power-play mates. “I knew that puck was coming through. I didn’t know how but I knew he [Pastrnak] was going to try it. Obviously, they’re special players and both plays like that, it’s kind of hard to take away both of them because if you take away Pasta, Bergie’s wide open.”
Frederic upped the lead, firing off Jordan Binnington’s pads at 16:28 for his third of the season.
The Bruins, who meet the Calgary Flames Thursday, improved to 8-0-0 at home and improved their TD Garden winning streak to 15 games over two seasons.
“That was a focus at the beginning of the year,” DeBrusk said of home success. “We obviously want to be good here. It’s a matter of trying to get the first goal and get the crowd into things and roll over four lines. It wasn’t necessarily their best or our best, it was kind of a grind of a game and we found a way to get through it.”
The Bruins also might have returned the focus to their fast start to the season, after spending recent days dealing with the controversial signing of Mitchell Miller.
“Great to be back in Boston, you could tell our players were really excited,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said. “I thought we started off the first period really well, we had penalty trouble, and it derailed us. Second period wasn’t very good for us — St. Louis came at us and we didn’t respond to their push. But we pushed back in the third and I liked the way we took over the game in the third.
“I think our special teams won the game. Great work by both [assistant] coaches, [Joe] Sacco and [John] Gruden. We’ve liked our power play the last couple games. We’re generating a lot of chances [but] haven’t really gotten the finish. Tonight we got to finish it. The desperation to work to get second- and third-effort chances really paid off on both of those goals.”
Frank Dell'Apa can be reached at email@example.com.