CALGARY — The Bruins kept their run going with a wild win Friday night at Scotiabank Saddledome, going punch-for-punch with the Flames and putting on the clamps for a 4-3 win.
The visitors overcame a pair of two-goal deficits, at 2-0 and 3-1, to land their fifth win in a row and 10th out of 11.
Boston’s best were dominant. Patrice Bergeron (two goals), Brad Marchand and surging Charlie Coyle provided the goals.
The NHL-leading Bruins (39-11-12), the first team to reach 90 points, were expected to take a short flight to Vancouver afterward, hoping to sweep their Western Canada trip.
The Bruins and Flames, seemingly uninterested in playing defense, combined for six goals in the first 12:20 of the game.
“It was hectic, for sure,” Bruins right wing Karson Kuhlman said.
Calgary scored three times on their first four shots in the first 3:23 of the game, but Boston’s run of three straight goals had the visitors up, 4-3, in the first minute of the second period.
“We just had to get out of that period,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Then we started over.”
But the goalies did their part, and the Bruins shut out the Flames over the final 54 minutes. Jaroslav Halak, who made 18 saves, stopped Johnny Gaudreau on a breakaway with about eight minutes left.
Uncredited on the scoresheet: The lively end boards at Scotiabank Saddledome, which could be credited with three assists. Cassidy pointed to it as a reason for Calgary’s opening flurry, the puck bouncing all over and creating Mikael Backlund’s goal 20 seconds in.
But the Bruins scored twice off direct rebounds, Bergeron potting the Bruins’ first two strikes off caroms behind the net.
Flames interim coach Geoff Ward, an assistant on the 2011 Stanley Cup team, recognized more than the familiar faces he saw when the Bruins arrived in town Thursday. He saw the traits of a championship contender Friday, specifically in how the Bruins, as a local reporter here put it in a press-conference question, took “a pond hockey game,” and made it a shutdown situation.
“That’s what good teams are able to do,” Ward said. “Talking to some of their guys on the way down here, they said, ‘We thought this might get out of control after 10 minutes.’ They were able to get themselves back on track pretty quickly.”
Some other observations:
■ The Bruins gave up their first goal 20 seconds in, allowing a Mikael Backlund putback from the slot. Off the opening faceoff, Torey Krug couldn’t clear a harmless dump in. Pinching defenseman Rasmus Andersson got free in Krug’s area and had an open-net look off a rebound. After Andersson put it off the outside of the cage, it bounced to Backlund.
■ Backlund made it 2-0 off a turnover at the Bruins’ blue line. Tobias Reider’s 2-on-1 saucer pass went over Zdeno Chara’s stick. Backlund zipped a one-timer past Halak at 2:34.
■ Patrice Bergeron to the rescue. Only 44 seconds after Backlund’s second, Bergeron cleaned up a David Pastrnak rebound with a backhander in the slot. He cruised by Calgary star Matthew Tkachuk, who was watching the puck. Three goals on the game’s first seven shots.
■ Calgary’s 3-1 goal was a mess for Boston. Matt Grzelcyk attacked Elias Lindholm’s zone entry out high, leaving room for Johnny Gaudreau to walk into the zone and take a short pass from Lindholm. Grzelcyk’s partner, Jeremy Lauzon, lost his stick, and was lost in coverage. David Krejci, the only man who could stop Gaudreau, didn’t come close. Gaudreau poked it by Halak.
■ But after Calgary iced the puck three times in a row, Bergeron got his second — and 29th of the season — off a Pastrnak shot that caromed off the end boards. That made it five goals in the first 6:12.
■ Bergeron is one goal shy of his sixth 30-goal season. It would be his third straight and fifth in the last seven seasons (all after turning 28).
■ Grzelcyk took an elbowing penalty at 6:33 after dropping Reider in open ice, but the Bruins snuffed out the power play.
■ With just 47:40 left in the game, Charlie Coyle tied it on the breakaway. Anders Bjork blocked a shot in the defensive zone, Karson Kuhlman threw a stretch feed past Calgary coverage, and Coyle finished upstairs. Good work from Kuhlman, hoping to stick around in the Ondrej Kase era, and great stuff from Coyle, who has been a force since the All-Star bye break.
■ Both goalies returned to the ice for the middle period. Brad Marchand opened the scoring 52 seconds in, tipping a Brandon Carlo shot past Cam Talbot. It was the 24th for Marchand, who went the previous seven games without one.
■ The caffeine wore off after that. The second period featured 10 shots on goal (five a side), one goal, but we did see Lauzon’s first career fight.
■ Milan Lucic, who entered with a 6-11—17 line in 59 games, went to dinner with a host of old Bruins pals Thursday night. He never played with Kuhlman or Grzelcyk, whom he buried with bodychecks.
■ Lauzon wanted to send a response to Lucic, who dropped Coyle on his way off the ice in the second period. Lauzon gave his jersey a tug. On the next faceoff, at 10:17, Lauzon and Tkachuk engaged in an angry scrap.
■ The Bruins had to make a big kill 5:55 into the third period, when Bergeron hooked Derek Ryan. The Bruins, who have killed 29 of their past 30 penalties against the Flames (over nine games), stuffed them again. Lauzon was in pain after blocking a shot with his foot, but he returned to play.