Charlie Coyle was impressed with the Bruins’ confidence when he arrived before last year’s trade deadline. Whomever the Bruins add before this year’s Feb. 24 deadline likely will see what Charlie Coyle saw last year: They’re rarely rattled.
“Guys are never down,” said Coyle, who came from the Wild last Feb. 20. “It’s always positive in here. No matter what happens in a period . . . we find a way.”
So they didn’t think much when they started slowly in Saturday’s 4-1 win over Detroit. At first, they couldn’t put anything past scorching-hot netminder Jonathan Bernier, who stopped 39 shots in a win last Sunday, and began this game at TD Garden by turning aside the first 25 pucks that reached him. Another uh-oh: Detroit scored the first goal of the game in the opening minutes.
No worries on the home bench.
“We had it tonight,” said Brad Marchand, whose pair of assists came on highlight-reel plays to linemates Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak. “We were able to control the play the entire way through the game.”
The Bruins finally broke their puzzling run of ineffectiveness against the Red Wings, beating them for the first time since last Oct. 13, 2018 (since: 0-4-1). Bernier stopped 38 of 41 shots, but the Bruins scored three times in six shots in the second period to take a commanding lead.
Charlie McAvoy, Bergeron, and Coyle lit the lamp in a span of 4 minutes, 29 seconds in the middle period. Pastrnak added his league-best 42nd goal of the season in the third, after Marchand undressed the Detroit defense and set up his gunner.
The Bruins have won eight of nine, and netminder Tuukka Rask (25 saves) has a .940 save percentage in that span.
“Another solid 60 minutes,” said Rask, who improved to 14-0-6 at home this season. That ties the club record for a point streak at home (Tiny Thompson, 20-0-0 in 1929-30).
The Bruins (36-11-12), who lost two road games this season to the lottery-bound Red Wings (14-42-4), play their next four on the road, beginning with a 3:30 p.m. puck drop against the Rangers on Sunday. They depart for Western Canada on Monday, for a three-in-four that runs through Edmonton (Wednesday), Calgary (Friday), and Vancouver (Saturday).
“It’s big,” McAvoy said. “Whenever you get on the road, there’s a bit of team bonding. We haven’t had a trip like this since the beginning of the year.”
A trade may come in that time — as it did last year, when the Bruins were in the middle of a California-Vegas-St. Louis swing when they acquired Coyle and Marcus Johansson — and any newcomer could join a team that’s rolling. The Bruins enter this trip at the top of the NHL standings (84 points), and are 16-4-6 in the last two months.
Which makes it no surprise, despite their recent history, that they pounded the Red Wings from the jump on Saturday. They outshot them, 18-6, in the first period and drew two penalties.
The scoreboard didn’t initially reflect the effort. Detroit’s Darren Helm jumped a Torey Krug pass on the power play and scored a second-effort shorthanded goal at 3:12 of the first. It was the fifth shorthanded goal allowed by the Bruins, who tied for the league lead in that category last year (15).
Bernier had 10 saves through 10 minutes, including one where the puck found the scrambling netminder as Coyle wrapped one way, then the other, from behind the net.
“It’s like he had a magnet on his back,” Coyle said.
Through the first 12 minutes, the Wings iced the puck five times and had four shots, while the Bruins had 14 shots.
But the Bruins tied the game on a goal from McAvoy (8:01 of the second), who was snakebit the first four months of the season. The third-year defenseman scored his second in five games by snapping home a failed Detroit clearing attempt from the slot.
“It’s as good as he’s played all year,” coach Bruce Cassidy said, pointing to his cleanliness at both ends of the ice of late.
Marchand got back the shorthanded goal, and gave Boston the lead, by teaming up with Bergeron. After an expertly placed corner dump, Marchand outworked defenseman Mike Green and fed Bergeron, who dangled past Bernier at 9:40 for his 25th of the season.
Coyle was rewarded for his efforts at 12:30. After the referees missed a Danton Heinen high stick on Wings defenseman Filip Hronek, Heinen set up a McAvoy half-slapper at the point. Coyle tipped it home for his 13th of the season. He spent several long shifts with the puck, the Wings fruitlessly trying to take it back.
“It frustrates, and that can trickle down,” Cassidy said. “You can start barking at your D for not separating the man from the puck, or whoever’s responsibility it is . . . it’s not fun chasing around a man his size, trying to battle back pucks. You don’t have much energy when you do get it.”
He’d like Coyle’s line to finish more, but noted his wingers, Heinen and Anders Bjork, are still a bit green.
“We’ll see if that develops,” Cassidy said. “If it does, they’re going to be really dangerous, whoever’s on that line.”
Speaking of skill: Marchand made Andreas Athanasiou look silly on the 4-1 goal, slipping past him with a drag move and firing cross-ice for Pastrnak’s finish. He did the same to Montreal’s Jeff Petry on Wednesday. It was his second assist of the game and 50th of the season, the third year in a row he has hit that mark (last year: career-high 64). Pastrnak’s goal put him alone in second place in league scoring (42-40—82).
The Detroit streak is dead.
“When we play the way we have been, we’re too good of a team,” said Marchand, ever confident. “It’s going to be tough for them to consistently beat us.”