3 Takeaways From Bruins’ Win Over Flames In McAvoy’s Return

For the second straight home game, the Boston Bruins were facing a team that entered the game on an extended losing streak. On Nov. 7, the Bruins extended the St. Louis Blues’ losing streak to seven games with a 3-1 victory on the strength of two third-period goals. Thursday night, the Calgary Flames entered the TD Garden, winless in their last six games, going 0-4-2, and once again, the Black and Gold extended their opponent’s losing streak.

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After being outplayed in certain parts of the game, including the beginning of the game when the Flames outshot them 6-0 and in the early part of the second period where it took Boston nine minutes to record their first shot on the net, Boston rallied from an early 1-0 deficit to win their eighth straight home game to begin the 2022-23 season with a 3-1. Linus Ullmark made 31 saves, including six during the Flames’ six power plays, but the Bruins got several other performances that played a big part in the win. Here are three takeaways from Boston’s 12th win in their first 14 games of the season.

McAvoy Returns With a Goal

Defenseman Charlie McAvoy returned to the Bruins lineup two weeks ahead of schedule from offseason shoulder surgery and like Brad Marchand who returned to the lineup ahead of schedule, McAvoy made an immediate impact. Marchand made his season debut against the Detroit Red Wings on Oct. 27 in a 5-1 Boston victory and had two goals and an assist. It took McAvoy less than two periods to find the back of the net.

Charlie McAvoy Boston Bruins
Charlie McAvoy, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In a 1-1 game late in the second period, the Flames had just killed off the fourth Bruins power play of the night when McAvoy took a pass from Pavel Zacha and scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal on a wrist shot from above the circles and through a Nick Foligno screen. McAvoy played under 20 minutes, 19:18, in his first game and finished with five hits. He played in all situations and getting him back early is going to only deepen the Boston defense.

Foligno Plays a Big Part in Both Bruins’ Goals

Foligno did not record a point in the game, but the veteran did some of the little things that don’t show up on the scoresheet at the end of the night. He has three goals already this season, but it was his dirty work below the circles that was the difference against the Flames.

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In the first period and with Boston trailing 1-0, he was causing havoc in front of the Calgary net supplying a screen when Connor Clifton fired a wrist shot that was stopped by Calgary goalie Dan Vladar, but he was not able to control the rebound and Clifton buried the rebound under the crossbar to tie the game. In the second period, he supplied the screen on McAvoy’s goal.

In the third period, Tomas Nosek was hit hard into the boards from behind by Calgary’s Kevin Rooney with no penalty called. Nosek appeared to be stunned after his head hit the glass, but Foligno stuck up for his teammate and dropped the gloves with Rooney, and made it known that he did not appreciate the hit. There continue to be many Bruins who have surprised in the first month of the season and Foligno continues to be at the top of the list.

Bruins Finally Solve Former Teammate Vladar on Home Ice

On the first day of free agency in 2021, general manager (GM) Don Sweeney made a surprise signing by inking Ullmark to a contract to be one of the goalies of the future with a four-year, $20 million deal. That meant the Bruins needed to part ways with one of their two young goalies in Jeremy Swayman and Vladar. A couple of hours after announcing the signing of Ullmark, Sweeney sent Vladar to the Flames.

Dan Vladar Calgary Flames
Dan Vladar, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Last season when Calgary made their only TD Garden appearance, coach Darryl Sutter played Vladar against his former team and the third-round pick, 75th overall in the 2015 Entry Draft shut out his former team with a 4-0 victory in late November. He made 28 saves in the win, but the Bruins were able to get the best of him Thursday night with goals from Clifton and McAvoy. Right now it appears that Sweeney made the right move by sending Vladar out West and keeping Swayman, but the move feels a lot better when Boston was able to beat him this time on home ice instead of being shut out.

The Bruins continue to grind out wins early in the season, even when they don’t play their best hockey during different times in the game. Now that they are nearly at full health, the last two wins were not pretty against two teams that are a lot better than their records indicate. Once again, they get depth scoring with Clifton and McAvoy each getting their first goals of the season as they head into a busy weekend with back-to-back games against the Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks.

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