Bruins give Jets a blank stare
Swayman stops 36 shots for shutout
The Bruins achieved the desired result in Winnipeg to get themselves in a better frame of mind on Thursday. The details on how they arrived at their preferred destination are still a work in progress.
The B’s scored twice in the first period, survived an iffy second period and then put together a solid third period to nail down a 3-0 victory over a Jets team fighting for a Western Conference wildcard.
When the B’s needed it most, Jeremy Swayman came up with an excellent and timely performance, stopping all 36 Winnipeg shots for his third shutout of the season.
“It was real important, especially in the first period when they outshot us pretty bad and he held us in the game. Our penalty kill (5for-5) helped us, too,” goal scorer Pavel Zacha told reporters in Winnipeg. “It was a great team effort overall and we’re happy to win.”
While elite goaltending performances have been the norm for this team, the best signs from Thursday were the commitment throughout (20 blocked shots, including seven from Charlie McAvoy) and the fact that their best period was the third.
“Our game management in all four lines and every defenseman (was good) and, of course, Swayman was great for 60 minutes. But I really thought the way we closed out the game in the third period was very reminiscent of the old team we had,” said coach Jim Montgomery.
The B’s came into the game as losers of three of their previous four, including a loss to Chicago, one of the worst teams in the league, on Tuesday. In his pregame remarks to reporters in Winnipeg, Montgomery referred to the mini-funk that the B’s were in as a “malaise.” There were a lot of conversations among the players and coaching staff between Tuesday’s loss in Chicago and puck drop on Thursday.
“I think when you’re going through those little periods of time, you don’t want to let them carry on too long,” Brandon Carlo told NESN. “I feel like this team has done a great job bouncing back all year, whether it be through one shift or a couple of games. We’re glad to get back in the win column tonight.”
A quick strike got some more positive vibes going immediately.
The B’s had allowed the first goal in their previous three games. But they didn’t wait long to change that trend. Charlie Coyle went after a dump-in in the right corner, shoveled it over to Tyler Bertuzzi behind the net and he made a pretty pass to Trent Frederic, who scored his 15th of the year just 50 seconds into the game.
They would eventually take a 2-0 lead later in the period, but they needed Swayman to come up big on the multiple power plays they handed to the Jets. His best stop came on Kyle Connor on a backdoor play, then he got fortunate when Mark Scheifele’s shot that seemed destined for the back of the net was stopped by McAvoy’s stick.
Carlo, who sat out the Chicago game, then came up with a strong penalty kill later in the period to create the next goal. He first shut down a Winnipeg rush to give a shorthanded chance to Garnet Hathaway, who hit the post. Then, as the time on the kill was running out, he sent Zacha the other way. On a 2-on-1, Zacha kept it for himself and sizzled a wrist shot past Connor Hellebuyck for his career-high 18th goal of the season at 13:22.
Thanks to the B’s taking four minors in the period, the B’s were outshot 13-7 in the first while they did not manage a shot on net on their only full two minute PP. They had a second PP wiped out after 20 seconds when Hampus Lindholm had to haul down Mason Appleton to prevent a breakaway.
The B’s maintained their twogoal lead through the second period, but it wasn’t pretty. They did a good job of shutting down plays in their own zone, but they had repeated troubles breaking the puck out, leading to more needless time in their own end. The Jets also pinged a couple of posts.
One aborted breakout led to Lindholm needing to take a hooking penalty, but the B’s were able to kill that off, thanks in part to to a painful block by Derek Forbort. Forbort gutted out the rest of the shift but did not return for the third. Montgomery told reporters that he doesn’t expect Forbort to play on the final two games of the road trip this weekend in Minnesota and Buffalo.
Swayman, meanwhile, continued his strong play, turning away 11 shots in the period.
The B’s controlled much of the play in the third but couldn’t put it away until Tomas Nosek scored an empty netter with 5.7 seconds left.