Phoenix Coyotes left winger Daniel Carcillo, left, has his shot blocked by the right pad of Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas.
Glendale, AZ -- The Boston Bruins defeated the Phoenix Coyotes Saturday night in Glendale, AZ, 4-1. Goaltender Tim Thomas, who started his first game of the 2007-08 season, was very solid between the Bruins pipes and stopped 36 shots.
Forwards Patrice Bergeron, Chuck Kobasew and Marco Sturm scored for Boston and helped even the Bruins record at 1-1-0. Niko Kapenen scored for the Coyotes. Their record also stands at 1-1-0.
"I thought we did a pretty good job tonight of forcing turnovers," said Boston head coach Claude Julien. "(And) I thought that our guys reacted well to a real aggressive forechecking team."
Julien had looked to shake things up in just his second regular season game with the club. And, after an uneven performance against the Dallas Stars on Friday night -- a 4-1 loss in Texas -- he tweaked his top two lines.
Against the Coyotes, veteran Bruins sniper Glen Murray and Kobasew switched places to give the first two forward lines a twist. Murray skated on Bergeron's line with Sturm and Kobasew was positioned next to last season's leading scorer, Marc Savard, and newcomer Peter Schaefer.
At even strength, the adjustment did not provide immediate dividends, but the Bruins special teams put Boston in the lead. On the power play Savard fed Bergeron to the right of the slot and, through traffic, Patrice beat the Phoenix goalie Mikael Tellqvist at 4:09 with his second goal of the season.
Then, shorthanded, Kobasew, a former Boston College star, scored his first of the year, with Schaefer in the box, at 4:47. Meanwhile, Thomas stopped all 10 shots he saw in the frame to keep the Bruins solidly in the lead, 2-0, going into the break.
"There's a lot of guys who stepped it up tonight," said Julien. "And Kobasew is one of them."
Boston Bruins left winger P.J. Axelsson (11), of Sweden, breaks away from Phoenix Coyotes left winger Mathias Tjarnqvist (22), also of Sweden, and defenseman Ed Jovanovski (55) in the second period of a hockey game Saturday.
The start of the second period immediately resembled the first, and, besides a puck that nearly slipped through Thomas early on, the Bruins had complete control of the contest in the first half of the session.
In fact, as the second period ticked away, Thomas became the story of the evening, and had several saves that kept the B's in the lead by two. But at 14:39 Phoenix's Shane Doan fired a puck at the front of Thomas' net, it bounced off the goalie's pads and off Kapenen's foot.
It was a lucky goal Coyotes, but Boston still led going into the second intermission, 2-1.
The Bruins came into the third minus Savard, who sustained a core injury and did not return to the game. Thankfully, however, the loss of the squad's leading scorer didn't shut down Boston's production.
Almost midway through the session Sturm took a feed from rookie David Krejci to score his first goal of the season and give Krejci his first NHL point at 9:15.
Thomas kept Phoenix out of the net and made several special saves down the stretch to keep the score, 3-1, Boston until the final horn.
"Timmy's Timmy," said Julien after the game. "Timmy competes hard and, you know, saves don't have to be pretty -- they just have to happen.
"And (with Tim) they do.
Boston Bruins right winger Glen Murray.
"He did a great job for us tonight and I thought he played a real good game," he said.
Julien thought that the Bruins had made a small stride towards "being harder to play against."
"You know, at some point you get tired of saying it," said the coach. "You just want to show it.
"And I think that's where we are at right now.
"I think, defensively, even (Friday) we showed we are not easy to play against in our own end (and) at the other end it was a little different and that is what we tried to rectify," he said.
However, Julien knows the Bruins can be better.
"Winning is something you have to work at," said Julien. "And we're working at making it a consistent thing." ---