Bruins face Canadiens leaning into positive chemistry

League: NHL

Posted on: 10 Nov, 2023 at 11:57 PM

Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins have started piling up the wins for a second straight season.

While last season's Bruins surged to an NHL-best 65 victories, the competitive nature of games this season has been much tighter despite an 11-1-1 start. The Bruins' 23 points matched the champion Vegas Golden Knights for tops in the league heading into Friday's action.

Boston heads north for a Saturday night matchup with the Atlantic Division rival Montreal Canadiens having won five of its last six games. The Bruins played in four straight one-goal contests prior to Thursday's 5-2 win over the New York Islanders.

"The season's long. You're going to go through different types of games," Bruins forward David Pastrnak said. "You're going to be up, you're going to be chasing the game, and you just have to believe in the process, play our game, and we have a good group in here."

The Bruins were locked in a 2-2 tie early in Thursday's third period before pulling away for the victory. A three-goal run to finish the game included two by Charlie Coyle, who finished his first career hat trick and a four-point night.

It was a productive night for not only Coyle, who has 12 points in 13 games, but linemates Trent Frederic (one goal, one assist) and James van Riemsdyk (two assists) as well. Pastrnak had a goal and two assists.

"I thought (that line) had a huge impact," Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said. "(van Riemsdyk) made five outstanding first passes; two of them didn't end up in a net, but three or four of them did. And Frederic and Coyle have always had a chemistry together. So, it was really nice to see."

Likely backstopped by 6-0-0 goalie Jeremy Swayman, the Bruins' lineup will be deeper come Saturday. Defenseman Charlie McAvoy has completed his four-game suspension for an illegal check to the head.

Also, forward Jakub Lauko is "an option" to play after missing seven games with a facial fracture from being cut by a skate blade Oct. 24 in Chicago.

Montreal earned a 3-2 overtime win Thursday at Detroit, snapping a four-game losing streak. The 0-3-1 run stretched back to an Oct. 28 triumph against Winnipeg.

Cole Caufield maintained his role as the Canadiens' early-season hero, scoring his third overtime game winner of the season in the final minute of the extra session. Only eight players in franchise history have reached that mark over an entire season, while he is only the second-ever NHL player to do so within his first five or fewer tallies of a campaign.

"I like being in that situation," Caufield said. "Obviously, you want to finish games in regulation, but you have to play the game that's in front of you, and I'm proud of the way we handled it."

Mike Matheson led Montreal with a goal and two assists while playing a game-high 27:56 on defense.

Sean Monahan logged an assist to run his point streak to seven games.

Three goalies have played for Montreal thus far, but Cayden Primeau has earned the last two starts over Jake Allen and Sam Montembeault. Primeau made 27 saves against the Red Wings, earning his first NHL win since Dec. 16, 2021.

"It's not easy for him with the three-goalie rotation, and the circumstances early in the season where our team is getting results, our goalies are playing well, so he kind of has to wait for his turn," Montreal coach Martin St. Louis said. "He's been a great teammate and a worker."

--Field Level Media