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Bruins draw a winning hand in Las Vegas after Jim Montgomery deals out line changes

Jake DeBrusk (left) scored his ninth goal of the season at 2:10 of the third period and celebrated with Brandon Carlo.John Locher/Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — The cards not going his way in the first two periods, Jim Montgomery began shuffling his deck of forwards Sunday night as the second intermission approached, then watched his Bruins rally for a pair of goals in the third for a 3-1 win Sunday night over the Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena.

Jake DeBrusk snapped a 1-1 tie early in the third period and Charlie Coyle made it a two-goal lead midway through the set, leading the Bruins to their 22nd win and keeping them lodged in the No. 1 spot in the NHL’s overall standings.

Red-hot goalie Linus Ullmark turned back 30 shots and improved his league-leading mark to 16-1-0. It was the supreme Swedish stopper’s ninth consecutive win, the best run of his career, a streak in which he has allowed only 12 goals.


“We are very fortunate, we have a lot of guys who can play different positions,” said Montgomery, the hottest dealer on The Strip, noting his line shuffling. “Some of our guys can play all three [forward spots]. That allows you to see who’s going and put those guys together and hopefully things happen — and it did tonight.”

DeBrusk connected for the tiebreaker 2:10 into the third period, finishing a play off the rush that began with Taylor Hall winning a puck chase along the left wall with Daniil Miromanov.

“I know [Pavel Zacha’s] going to trust that I can make that play,” said Hall, “and obviously he does the rest. I think it was a 4-foot high saucer pass [by Zacha], if I’m not mistaken. That’s a heck of a play. And JD’s ready for it on the back door — that’s where we have to be on our 3-on-2 rushes. A big goal for us. In the third period, in this building, you want to control momentum … there were plays to be made and that was a prime case of it.”


Coyle’s goal, his second in as many games, came with 9:04 gone in the third, on a sizzling wrister from the left wing circle. Linemate Trent Frederic provided the key screen, setting up on Vegas goalie Logan Thompson’s doorstep, and Coyle’s shot found its way into the far side, roughly halfway up the right post.

Charlie Coyle added a key third-period tally in Sunday night's win over the Golden Knights.Ethan Miller/Getty

“Good screen,” said Montgomery. “We weren’t getting the screens we needed earlier in the night.”

Less than 48 hours after their disappointing loss to the Coyotes in Arizona, the Bruins entered the third period still searching for their “A” game on offense. They landed 18 shots on net in the opening 40:00, but Patrice Bergeron’s sweeping snap at 3:55 of the second was the only one to beat Thompson (24 saves).

The Golden Knights, again missing their top forward, Jack Eichel, and their top defenseman, Alex Pietrangelo, also were without blue liner Shea Theodore. They then took another big roster hit to the back line 1:37 into the second period when Zach Whitecloud hobbled off with a knee injury when hit by Hall in a net-front scrum.

Vegas connected for the 1-0 lead with its first shot on Ullmark.

Awarded a power play 3:04 into the game when A.J. Greer, in the lineup with David Krejci sidelined, roughed up Ben Hutton, it took the Golden Knights only a minute to connect. Mark Stone, fed by Chandler Stephenson, made a clever spin move at the top of the crease and pushed his doorstep forehander by a sprawled Ullmark.


“If I remember it correctly, I kind of screwed up in my movement there,” said Ullmark. “I got too caught up in the moment and kind of went forward, to the side, and he has a long reach. When he got me, there’s nothing there to save it. A nice move. Sometimes guys make nice moves, nice plays, and they score … tip your hat, focus on the next one.”

In the prior four games, the Bruins were a perfect 14 for 14 on the penalty kill.

Just over two minutes after Whitecloud exited the game, Bergeron’s 10th goal of the season knotted the score. After winning a faceoff, Bergeron set up in the slot, and it was David Pastrnak who dished him the puck for the goal on the Bruins’ 13th shot on net.

Ullmark made his biggest stop of the night at 8:38 of the second, seconds after the Bruins muddled their way through another unsuccessful power play. As the penalty expired, Hutton came racing out of the box and picked up a pass for a breakaway down the right side. Hutton had eyes on his first goal of the season but was stymied by Ullmark, who snuffed out the chance with a dazzling glove save.

Ullmark makes one of his 30 saves Sunday against Vegas.Ethan Miller/Getty

“That’s a big momentum swing, if you come out of the box and score — it can be pretty deflating,” said Montgomery. “Ullmark gives us a lot of confidence that we can play an aggressive style game.”


Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at