Two Takeaways From Bruins’ 12th Straight Win Over Coyotes


Mar 21, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien during a time out in the third period against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. The Bruins defeated the Avalanche 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

At this point in the regular season, winning hasn’t been much of a surprise for the Boston Bruins, who took care of the Phoenix Coyotes, 4-2, in Glendale, Arizona tonight in a come-from-behind win. Here are a couple of takeaways from Saturday night’s game that afforded Boston their 12th straight victory.

1. Bruins’ Faceoff Expertise Essential

The Bruins didn’t necessarily outperform the Coyotes from a statistical viewpoint. In fact, both teams were nearly deadlock in most categories. Penalty minutes were 10 for each; hits were equal at 31; giveaways were tied at 6. Phoenix actually beat the B’s in total shots, 32 to 28, and takeaways, 7 to 5.

The one spot that Boston clearly held the edge was faceoff wins, 35 to 28. Patrice Bergeron and Chris Kelly spearheaded the B’s efforts on the dot, racking up a 64.3 percent average win rate.

Whenever the Bruins were pitted in the Coyote’s zone, they were able to establish a rhythm shifting the puck from high to low, low to high. Part of the reason the Bruins were given so much time in the offensive zone was due to these faceoff wins that trapped the puck in the Western Conference squad’s end.

2. Winning 1-on-1 Battles Drives Offensive Play

Despite harboring players on the roster utilizing different styles of hockey, the Bruins discover ways to regularly win 1-on-1 battles with opponents along the boards, where the B’s enjoy their most effective tactics, and elsewhere.

David Krejci, for example, displayed physicality on the boards to keep the puck loose in hopes of advancing it to Jarome Iginla for the empty-netter. Iginla ended up converting to put the Bruins two goals ahead of the Coyotes in the final seconds of the game.

Bergeron and Iginla won battles in front of the net to tack on goals the first two goals for the Bruins.

Iginla impeded goaltender Mike Smith‘s vision with a savvy screen and tip-in score. Bergeron quickness to recover his own failed shot attempt and beat Smith low is another 1-on-1 battle won against the Coyotes’ goalie.

Shawn Thornton‘s tip-in goal off of a swift wrist shot from Daniel Paille showed a 1 v. 1 clash–this time, purely a positioning tactic against the Avs’ defense.

Next Game:

On the basis of executing these two elements of the game, Boston should preserve their streak against the Montreal Canadiens at the TD Garden, Monday 7:30 p.m. ET.