In need of a win after an 0-1-1 stretch, the Bruins pulled one out Sunday in Winnipeg against the Jets, 3-2.
A reshuffled lineup, including the Bruins debut of Jay Pandolfo, had enough to rally from a one-goal deficit late in the second period and survive a heart-attack finish when the puck danced along the goal line behind Tuukka Rask as time expired.
Relax and enjoy, fellas -- The Bruins will not play again until Thursday. That gives them their second three-day break in a span of two weeks, thanks to the postponement of the Tampa Bay game. By comparison, they had just one such stretch earlier in this condensed season and have none the rest of the way. In fact, they get two straight days off just once more. So while the travel (Buffalo to Boston to Buffalo to Winnipeg to Boston, for practice, to Tampa Bay to Miami to New York to Boston) is a bit wacky, expect Claude Julien’s crew to now take full advantage of some rare down time once it lands at Logan Airport.
Why wait until the third period? -- Much has been made of the Bruins’ third-period dominance, and their so-so play in the first two sessions. When the Jets took a 2-1 lead with just 27 seconds left in the second, it looked as if Boston would need another big push in the final 20 minutes. That task became a whole lot easier when Johnny Boychuk’s shot was redirected in front by Daniel Paille with just 1.5 seconds left in the second. It was an absolutely mammoth momentum swing to enter the third, which proved to be critical with the way Boston began that period -- grabbing the lead for good just 36 seconds in on Marchand’s tally.
Marchand makes them pay -- This seemed like a great opportunity for the Bruins to find rare success on the power play, for Winnipeg entered ranked last in the league with a pitiful 67.4 percent penalty kill. The Jets managed to avoid such situations through the first two periods by not drawing a single whistle. However, it took just nine seconds into the third for Marchand to induce a tripping penalty and only 27 seconds more for him to make it pay off with a backhand past Ondrej Pavelec. It was Marchand’s team-leading eighth goal, his second with a man advantage.
A better Bourque -- The absence of Lucic necessitated a line shuffle that saw left winger Chris Bourque playing on the right side along with Chris Kelly and Daniel Paille. It seemed to be a nice change early on, as Bourque had a fantastic first period. He blocked a couple of shots, including one off his exposed wrist fired by former Bruin Mark Stuart, and had a wonderful sequence on his second shift in which he secured possession behind the net and found a streaking skater near the slot. While that opportunity fizzled, Bourque cycled back and got a shot off moments later.
He gave every indication he was okay with his time at right wing.
“I feel pretty confident there,” Bourque told NESN’s Naoko Funayama after the first period. “I’ve played there in the past so it’s a little easier coming down on the wing and taking a step to the middle, so I like it.”
Bourque put forth another outstanding shift late in the second. The Bruins had some opportunities during that segment before the whistle was blown when Paille’s skate somehow attached itself to Pavelec’s leg pad. Bourque picked up an assist on the go-ahead tally in the third and saw action with David Krejci and Nathan Horton on the top line down the stretch.
Sneaky Seguin -- Seguin’s third goal of the season tied it 1-1 midway through the second, but it did not come in conventional fashion. It was a Zdeno Chara wrister that Seguin redirected with a stick extension a few feet off the ice in front of the Winnipeg net. A review confirmed that Seguin’s stick was at an acceptable height.
Seguin supported Chara on a very different play in the first period. After Chara lost his stick on a shot, he was forced to retreat unarmed as the Jets put on a rush. Meanwhile, Seguin hustled straight up ice and dove to deflect a pass right in front of his stick-less teammate, breaking up a Winnipeg chance and offering another reminder of his capabilities in all zones.
Hold that Hamilton -- The Jets’ first goal early in the second period was an odd one, to say the least. It appeared as if several players on both sides were just standing around as Alex Burmistrov quite calmly pushed the puck past Rask. One of those stuck in slow motion was Bruins rookie Dougie Hamilton, but he had a beef. Burmistrov was caught on replay holding Hamilton’s stick, preventing the defenseman from scraping away a loose puck as he stood directly over it for what seemed like a solid two-count. Maybe this is one of those lessons learned along the way for Hamilton, who might fight a bit harder to pull that stick back next time; it seemed as if he was already complaining to the officials before Burmistrov’s shot found the net.
The Jets’ second goal also came after some action in front in which Bruins players were not exceptionally active. Horton was the culprit this time, losing track of Evander Kane in front as he searched over his shoulder for a trailing skater that never came. Throw in some pretty severe hits delivered on Chara and Adam McQuaid by James Wright and you had some notable examples early on of Winnipeg being the more physical team. The Jets finished with a 25-21 hits advantage.
New-look lineup -- With Lucic at home and Jay Pandolfo making his debut, Julien started with this look: