Red-hot Bruins aim to continue dominance vs. Coyotes
BOSTON — The Boston Bruins, off to a torrid start under interim coach Bruce Cassidy, come off a four-game trip with the first of three home contests in five nights when the Arizona Coyotes visit on Tuesday night.
The Coyotes, who have the second-worst record in the league, haven’t won in Boston since March 5, 2009 and haven’t beaten the Bruins since the teams opened the 2010 season with a split of two games in the Czech Republic.
Arizona has been more competitive lately, winning six of its last 11 games — including Sunday night’s victory at Buffalo in the opener of a three-game road trip. On Tuesday, the Coyotes run into a Bruins’ team that won three of four on a western trip and six of seven under Cassidy — by a combined 31-14.
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“I think we showed a lot of character during that road trip,” Patrice Bergeron said after Sunday’s 6-3 win at Dallas. “It’s not an easy trip. We’re playing some big, heavy teams and a fast team with a lot of skill today. It wasn’t easy by any means and I thought we battled through it.
“Losing that game in Anaheim, then right back and bouncing back against L.A. with a big win there. This afternoon, it’s an early game, it’s a different kind of routine for everyone and we all showed up and had a good game.”
Sunday’s game actually started at 11:30 a.m. CT and the Bruins came out strong. They rebounded after squandering a 2-0 lead and rode Bergeron and linemate Brad Marchand to the victory.
“I’ve said it since I got here, those guys have some special chemistry in how they support each other and know where each other are,” linemate David Backes said. “They’re still communicating out there, where each other are, the way they find each other and work together, it’s really special.
“We’re clicking right now. Not just our line, plenty of guys are contributing to wins, not just all on the scoresheet, doing the little things. It’s winning hockey and we need to keep this going.”
Bergeron, Marchand and David Krejci, Boston’s three most important offensive players, have all flourished under Cassidy, who took over for Claude Julien. Bergeron and Marchand have nine points apiece and Krejci eight under Cassidy’s watch.
The Coyotes dealt Martin Hanzal and Ryan White to the Minnesota Wild (for three draft picks and a prospect) and captain Shane Doan, who has turned down deals to stay with this franchise, wasn’t happy.
“It’s really hard, obviously, he’s a huge part of our team and someone you get to play with for 10 years,” Doan said. “You appreciate and understand how valuable … you can’t really replace him, and … the fact that we just continue to seem to go–I don’t know, it’s hard to understand how exactly–I mean, you understand people’s hands are tied. Just don’t get it.”
By moving Hanzal, the team may have opened the door for Doan to finally accept a trade. But he is 40 so the interest might not be there from another team.
The Coyotes made another trade with the Wild on Monday, acquiring Teemu Pulkkinen for future considerations. He said he would join the team in Boston.
The Bruins have beaten the Coyotes nine straight times and hope to continue the home success they started with three consecutive wins that started the Cassidy era behind the bench.
They host the New York Rangers Thursday night and the New Jersey Devils two days later.
“When you come out here (on the road), you always want to win every game,” Cassidy said. “Guys should be proud of themselves. I think we learned a little bit in Anaheim, the one that did get away, but we corrected that the other night in L.A. and I thought tonight again we had a good start and it kind of set the tempo for us.”