Gionta, Nash help streaking Bruins power past Chicago 7-4
By KEN POWTAK
Mar. 10, 2018
BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Bruins found different ways to win during their perfect homestand.
Brian Gionta and Rick Nash scored power-play goals just over a minute apart, and the Bruins beat the Chicago Blackhawks 7-4 on Saturday to finish their homestand at 6-0. The goals came during a double-minor penalty on Chicago's Patrick Kane.
Coming off a 3-2 victory against Philadelphia, the Bruins scored four power-play goals and one shorthanded. They also won games by scores of 2-1, 8-4 and 6-5 during the streak.
"I just think this time of the year you're playing teams in different circumstances — teams will get loose and some are tight," Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said. "Teams that are loose, our guys feel they can win those games."
Jake DeBrusk set up two power-play goals by David Krejci. David Pastrnak scored, Noel Acciari had a shorthanded tally and Sean Kuraly added an empty-netter for Boston.
"We're comfortable in all sorts of games and obviously when things need to be tightened up, we do that as well," said Gionta, who played just his fifth game since signing with the Bruins. "It shows our adaptability."
Tuukka Rask made 23 saves on his 31st birthday.
Erik Gustafsson had a goal and two assists, and Jonathan Toews, John Hayden and Matthew Highmore scored for Chicago, which lost for the fifth time in seven games.
"For 40 minutes we were decent. Their power play was excellent in the third," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said.
Highmore's goal was his first in the NHL. It was a bright spot for a team well outside the playoff picture.
"It was good to see Highmore get his first goal," Gustafsson said.
Gionta, the captain of the U.S. team at the Pyeongchang Olympics, scored the go-ahead goal 8:02 into the third by tapping in a rebound at the edge of the crease. Nash redirected a shot from the top of the crease 1:16 later.
Boston had tied it at 4 when Pastrnak charged to the net to knock in Brad Marchand's rebound with 13:37 left in the third period.
Highmore broke a 3-3 tie by sending a wrist shot from the right circle that beat Rask inside the far post with 4:14 left in the second period.
Chicago had taken a 3-2 edge on Hayden's goal 6:37 into the second, but Boston tied it 10 seconds into a power play.
DeBrusk stick-handled around a pair of Blackhawks players before sending a pass over to Krejci, who one-timed a shot into the net.
The teams were tied at 2 after a first period that featured plenty of good scoring chances and a shot off a post by each club.
Boston went ahead 2-0 with two special-teams goals. Acciari fired the rebound of Kuraly's breakaway shot into the net 11:27 into the game. Krejci, positioned in the slot, one-timed DeBrusk's pass from the left corner over J-F Berube's left shoulder.
The Blackhawks scored twice in 29 seconds to tie it.
On the first, Gustafsson fired a slap shot from the left point that Toews tipped inside the right post. Gustafsson fired a shot from nearly the identical spot that beat Rask to the same side, tying it at 14:56.
NOTES: Blackhawks forward Anthony Duclair had to be helped off the ice, favoring his right leg, after a center-ice collision with Marchand in the opening period. He was helped down the runway to the locker room and didn't return. The Bruins' winger was called for interference on the play. "I think it was a dirty play," Gustafsson said. Cassidy said: "I just saw two guys turning that didn't want to bang into each other. It just looked like incidental contact." ... Quenneville coached his 1,608th game, moving him past Al Arbour for second most on the NHL's all-time list. ... Boston backup goalie Anton Khudobin is expected to start Sunday.
The teams meet again in Chicago on Sunday.
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