After allowing an absolutely atrocious goal to tie the game in the second period, the Bruins of old would likely collapse and squander another chance at picking up pivotal points late in the season.
But these are not the Boston Bruins of old.
David Backes scored the eventual game-winning goal with nine minutes left in the second period, while Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, and Matt Beleskey added goals in Boston’s 5-2 road victory over the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night.
Backes’ goal came a period after he had to be helped off the ice with what looked to be a serious lower-body injury, as he took an awkward fall into the boards and immediately grabbed his knee. Backes took a feed from David Krejci and buried it past former Bruin Chad Johnson to give the B’s a 3-2 lead.
That goal came around four minutes after a brutal mistake by Bruins’ goalie Anton Khudobin, as he allowed a tally from another former Bruin – Dougie Hamilton – from just inside the red line to tie the game at 2-2.
Instead of sulking after that awful goal, the play seemed to reignite the B’s, as they dominated the second half of the game and ended Calgary’s ten-game winning streak in the process.
The Flames took a 1-0 lead 9:23 into the contest, with Alex Chiasson notching his tenth goal of the year. Boston quickly responded, with Pastrnak scoring the first of his two goals on the evening just 2:24 later. Pastrnak took a pass from Zdeno Chara and broke into the zone down the right side, finding the five-hole on Johnson for his 29th goal of the season, which puts him near the top 10 in the NHL.
Pastrnak is now chasing his teammate at the top of the goal scoring stats, as Marchand notched his league-leading 36th goal of the year with six minutes elapsed in the second period for Boston’s first lead of the night. Colin Miller had a shot on net that Johnson saved but bobbled the rebound, which squirted right in front of the net to Marchand for an easy put-back goal.
The Bruins took a 3-2 lead into the final period after the goals from Hamilton and Backes, and they added some insurance after a defensive gaffe allowed a 2-on-0 break. Drew Stafford beat the defense at center ice, and led Ryan Spooner and Beleskey with an entry pass into the zone, where they were by themselves. Spooner took the puck near the net before dishing it to Beleskey for his third goal of the season and first tally since November 19th.
Boston added a late empty-net goal, as Pastrnak continued his breakout season with goal number 30 with just three seconds left to round out the scoring.
The win is Boston’s fourth in a row and 12th in their last 15 games, and gives them some breathing room in the Eastern Conference standings. The B’s (38-26-6) are now five points clear of the Islanders and Lightning for the final playoff spot, and they are just four points back of Montreal for first place in the Atlantic Division.
They will face another surprising team in the Western Conference Thursday night, as they quickly move on to Edmonton to face the Oilers, who are just one point back of Calgary and Anaheim for second place in the Pacific Division.
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