3 Takeaways From Bruins’ 3-1 Win Over Blues

Entering Monday night’s game at the TD Garden, the Boston Bruins, and St. Louis Blues were two teams going in opposite directions to begin the 2022-23 season. The Bruins were winners of 10 of their first 12 games, while the Blues won their first three games of the season, but had dropped their last six games. Both of those trends continued.

Boston used two third-period goals in the final eight minutes to break a 1-1 tie to collect a 3-1 victory. The win comes after the Bruins closed out a four-game road trip with a 2-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 5. Here are three takeaways from the Black and Gold’s 11th win in their 13 games this season.

Bruins Need to Split Up Reilly & Zboril Combination

Losing Derek Forbort on Nov. 1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins is a big loss to the defensive unit. Charlie McAvoy is still some time away from returning to the lineup and coach Jim Montgomery is testing the depth of his defense early in the season. Mike Reilly, who was placed on waivers in October, and Jakub Zboril have been two players that have found themselves as healthy scratches lately (from ‘Bruins waive Nick Foligno, Mike Reilly, and Chris Wagner as roster deadline looms,’ Boston Globe, Oct. 9, 2022). They could soon find themselves on the outside looking in again.

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It was not a great night for the Black and Gold’s third defensive pairing and it was so bad that Montgomery can’t go much longer with the pairing. In the second period and the Bruins leading 1-0, they were on the ice when the Blues tied the game on a Brayden Schenn goal. Zboril was caught up ice which led to a 3-on-3 that St. Louis turned into a 4-on-3 rush with Schenn finding himself open at the side of the net to beat Linus Ullmark. Zboril was late getting back into the play and could not get to Schenn in time to affect the shot. Later in the period, the pair gave up a breakaway to Jordan Kyrou off a faceoff in the Blues’ end and they were lucky he lost the puck off of his stick before getting a shot off. Seconds later on the same shift, they again allowed Kyrou behind them, this time Ullmark was able to make the save.

Mike Reilly, Boston Bruins
Mike Reilly, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Montgomery has been mixing and matching early in the season with his forwards, but it is time to do it on defense. Reilly and Zboril, who did not play a shift in the final four minutes of the second period, need to play with different partners. The Bruins can’t rely on two pairings until McAvoy and Forbort get back.

Bruins Special Teams Prove to Be the Difference

The Bruins have the best penalty kill in the NHL and it was on full display in the first period. They were called for three consecutive penalties in the first 12 minutes of the game and killed each one of them off. They allowed two shots on the first penalty, but the next two kills were a clinic as they were able to play keep away from the Blues on multiple occasions which drained the clock on the two minutes with Brad Marchand leading the way on the penalty kill.

Brad Marchand Boston Bruins
Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Unlike St. Louis, the Bruins were able to capitalize on their two opportunities and it turned out to be the difference. Jake DeBrusk scored a first-period power play goal off a pass from David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal in the third period when he took a pass from Marchand in the bumper position and fired a wrist shot past St. Louis goalie Jordan Binnington. There are times during the season when special teams are the difference in a game and that was the case for the Black and Gold.

Bruins Dominate Third Period

Entering the game, the Bruins knew that the Blues were a desperate team, losers of six straight. Despite the struggles of the visitors and the game being tied 1-1 entering the final period, the Bruins played as well as they could to not give the Blues any signs of life and get the two points in the standings.

The Bruins outshot St. Louis,15-11 in the period, but dominated the first 15 minutes and built a two-goal lead. Bergeron’s power play goal gave Boston the lead before Trent Frederic gave them a two-goal advantage. He stole a pass in the defensive end, skated through center ice into the offensive zone, and allowed Tomas Nosek to cut in front of Binnington to provide a screen before firing a wrist shot inside the post for a 3-1 lead. After that goal, the Blues supplied their best pressure of the period, only to have Ullmark stop everything thrown at him.

Boston rebounded from their loss to the Maple Leafs to get back into the win column against a team that is struggling. The win improved the Bruins to 7-0-0 at home as they begin a stretch of five out of six games at home. Despite injuries, they continue to find a way to grind out wins early in the season at an impressive clip.

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