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Bruins blow lead, fight back for win over Coyotes – Boston Herald


The Bruins earned the two points that were required with the Arizona Coyotes in town on Saturday night. But it was not easy, and their injury situation suggests that things are only going to get tougher.

After the B’s coughed up a two-goal lead in the third period, Derek Forbort beat goalie Karel Vejmelka with a hard wrister through the pads with 10:31 left in regulation, with Craig Smith providing a little bit of a screen in front.

Then A.J. Greer (2-1-3) provided an insurance goal with his first goal as a Bruin with 7:11 left when his hard wrist shot from the left circle beat Vejmelka and, after Greer’s empty-netter, the B’s grabbed the 6-3 win in the home opener at the Garden.

But with Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy out for the foreseeable future to start the season, the B’s lost Jake DeBrusk to an upper body injury in the opener and then Brandon Carlo on Saturday with an upper body injury.

The Coyotes, on the rebuild yet again, were not expected to give the injury-riddled B’s much of a game and, in the first period at least, they lived up to those expectations.

The B’s outshot Arizona 12-4 in the first and jumped out to a 2-0 lead. It could have been worse if the B’s were a little crisper with their playmaking down low.

The Coyotes took two consecutive penalties in the first five minutes and it was on the second one that the B’s cashed in.

After missing a chance to score on a short 5-on-3, the second power-play unit put them up 1-0. Smith sent a pass out front to Nick Foligno, who hit the post to the left of Vejmelka. It bounced directly to Pavel Zacha, who buried his first as a Bruin into the empty net at 4:03.

The Coyotes did their best to play rope-a-dope, blocking whatever they could in front of Vejmelka (12 blocks in the first) and it looked like they would escape the first period with just a one-goal deficit. No such luck.

Greer created a turnover just outside the Arizona blue line and Trent Frederic, in the lineup because of the upper body injury to DeBrusk, pounced on it. After gaining the blue line, he dished it to Charlie Coyle on the right wing and Coyle finished it off, a pretty roof job over Vejmelka’s right shoulder with 1:36 left in the period.

One negative to come out of the period was the loss of Carlo, who got blasted along the boards in the Boston zone late in the period by Liam O’Brien. Carlo took a split second to react before jumping back in the play, but he headed down the runway before the period was out. It was the second tough hit he took in the game, having absorbed Nick Richie’s crosscheck early in the game, and he did not return.

At the start of the second period, Frederic tried to avenge the hit on Carlo and went with O’Brien, hitting him with one good shot before getting pushed off-balance that ended the bout prematurely.

Then Arizona started to show some signs of life and Jeremy Swayman was finally asked to join the festivites. He made a good stop on Ritchie and, on Arizona’s first power play, he had to make a couple of high quality stops. But with just six seconds left on Taylor Hall’s hooking penalty, Clayton Keller finally beat Swayman from the right circle.

But after the B’s killed off two more penalties, the B’s got their two-goal lead back at 14:03. After the Coyotes turned it over to Connor Clifton at right point, Foligno deflected home the defenseman’s wrister for his first of the year.

Swayman had to come up with another big stop when a bouncing puck got past Forbort, giving Dylan Guenther a breakaway that Swayman smothered. Swayman had to be good in the second period – thanks to the penalties, Arizona had a 13-5 shot advantage in the period – and he was.

But Arizona kept at it and got back to within a goal early in the third, off a bad Bruin turnover. With the B’s looking to break out the puck, Jakub Zboril sent a backhand pass back into his own slot and the Coyotes regained control of the puck, with Josh Brown eventually pinching down and burying the puck at 2:58.

The Coyotes then tied it up on a shorthanded goal at 5:42. Zacha’s pass attempt for David Pastrnak was picked off by Shayne Gostisbehere, who went the distance and beat Swayman on a breakaway, putting the B’s in a position they did not expect to be in.

But the B’s responded to nail down the victory.


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