A couple of quick goal-scoring punches early in the third period, by Danton Heinen and on the power play by Brad Marchand, broke a 40-minute tie and led the Bruins to a 5-2 win over the Senators Saturday night at the Garden.
The two strikes came only 1:07 apart, with Heinen breaking the deadlock with his first even-strength goal this season. Marchand then followed with the jawbreaker, set up in front with a gimme after a charging David Pastrnak — who had 3 points, including his 13th goal — sent a sweet backhand feed from the goal line.
Heinen also set up Jake DeBrusk with 3:44 to go to cap the scoring on a night likely most remembered for the frightening injury to Ottawa fourth-line winger Scott Sabourin. Sabourin was knocked unconscious just 3:08 in, though he was responsive when taken for tests at Mass General, where he was kept overnight.
The win was Boston’s fifth straight, a stretch in which they’ve outscored opponents, 24-9. At 10-1-2, they remain the lone team in the NHL to have only one regulation loss.
Pastrnak’s 3 points restored his standing as the game’s top point-getter this season, his 13-14—27 moving him past Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl (13-13—26). The German-born Draisaitl was the No. 3 pick in the 2014 draft, the same year the Bruins selected the Czech-born Pastrnak at No. 25.
The Senators (3-8-1) had a prime chance to steal a win on Causeway Street in the second period, when Marchand was tagged with six minutes in penalties — two for hooking and four for spearing — at 6:08. Those infractions came only 1:05 after the Bruins were placed shorthanded for having too many men on the ice, but Rask was resolute and Boston handled the full 6:55 of shorthanded time to keep it 2-2.
All three members of Boston’s Primo Trio — Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak — finished with a goal, and finished the night a collective 3-4—7. They had 260 points last season. They now stand an aggregate 27-37—64, a pace that would deliver an astounding 404.
It took just 77 seconds for Pastrnak to open the scoring, extending his point streak to 11 games. It was the eighth time Pastrnak scored the Bruins first goal of a game, a record for any team through 13 games.
Torey Krug made the key play on Pastrnak’s goal, firing a hard, long-distance diagonal from 10-15 feet behind his own blue line into the right wing corner. Pastrnak blew by Sens defenseman Ron Hainsey, collected the puck and dashed to goalie Craig Anderson’s doorstep for a quick razzle dazzle and tuck.
Not even two minutes later, a sad, eerie silence blanketed the Garden following Sabourin’s awkward collision with David Backes. The two big forwards banged bodies near the blue line, and Sabourin appeared to be KO’d before he face-planted into the ice. As he left, face up on a stretcher with lots of blood around his nose and mouth, he offered a thumbs-up.
The Senators announced the 27-year-old Sabourin, a member of the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs from 2012–15, was conscious and speaking with the attending doctors when leaving the arena for further testing.
Backes, who has suffered multiple concussions throughout his career, also was done for the night. Clearly emotionally shook up by the freak accident, he left for the Boston room seconds after Sabourin was wheeled off.
The club announced early in the second period that Backes also suffered an upper-body injury.
“You can probably do the math on that one,” said Cassidy, hinting heavily that Backes suffered a suspected concussion on the collision with Sabourin.
Backes suffered at least once concussion in each of his three previous seasons with the Bruins, and said a couple of years ago that he has incurred at least 10 over the span of his career, including both college and professional play.
“I just saw him leave,” said Cassidy, when asked if Backes was ordered off the ice by the NHL-appointed spotter: “At first I didn’t know if he was injured or concerned [about Sabourin] or both . . . and he never came back.”
The game was delayed more than 11 minutes.
Play was subdued for a few shifts after Sabourin exited, but it grew chippier, particularly in the second period. It was 2-2 after two, Bergeron connecting at 1:51 of the second on a feed across the crease from Pastrnak, then Connor Brown equalizing at 3:04 as Anthony Duclair had at 12:04 of the first.
The Bruins have been in need of getting more offensive pop out of their young wingers, and got some from Heinen and DeBrusk in the final period.
“Glad to see Jake get rewarded,” said Cassidy. “Goals scorer, when they score, feel better about their game. It wasn’t a cheap one. A good shot. A good play.”
As for Heinen’s, the coach noted it came after he won a battle on the wall.
“We’ve asked Danton this year to be heavier on pucks and battles — I thought he was tonight,” said Cassidy. “He did a lot of those things. We know he can defend well, make plays in space, contribute here and there on specials teams, but nice to see him win a puck battle on the wall.”
With 1:19 left, linesman Steve Miller had to be helped off the ice after colliding with Sean Kuraly and Ottawa’s Thomas Chabot. He appeared to be in great pain, and was seen after the game still needing support to walk, and with his right calf taped.