The Boston Bruins got a few early goals and built a 4-1 lead by the third period, then survived a shaky final frame to hold on for a 5-3 win against the Minnesota Wild in Boston last night.
The injury bug has the Bruins relying on a lot of baby-faced newbies in these early days of the season, and some of them cashed in last night, with rookie Jake Debrusk scoring off a rebound in the first, and Frank Vatrano finally got his first goal of the year on a nice individual effort. The 23-year old who showed flashes of brilliance last year but has been off to a slow start this season lugged the puck down the boards from his own end and over the blue line to release a slap shot on a tumbling puck that struck the skate of Minnesota goalie Devan Dubnyk, then struck the post and banked off Dubnyk's back and into the net. Defenseman Torey Krug scored his third goal of the year on a slapper that got by Dubnyk, who was pulled after allowing four goals on 24 shots, and things looked good for the Bruins heading into the third. But Boston got a little complacent and the Wild made it a 4-3 game midway through, and then it was Tuukka Rask to the rescue when he made a right skate save on a penalty shot awarded to Minnesota's Mikael Granlund, who got tripped up by Torey Krug on a breakaway attempt at center ice. Rask's big time save on the ensuing penalty shot was one of his 24 saves on the night and saved the lead, allowing Tim Schaller to put the game away with an empty netter.
The Bruins have yet to win two games in a row this season but will get the chance tomorrow night when they take on the NY Rangers. They will be without center David Krejci, who's missed the last six games and yesterday was placed on injured reserve. Winger Brad Marchand was out of last night's game with an upper body injury.
No word if he'll be ready for the game against the Rangers, who also scored a 5-3 win last night, topping the Columbus Blue Jackets for the team's fourth win in a row. The Rangers trailed 2-1 heading into the third, but went three for three on the power play to storm ahead and grab the victory on goals by Kevin Shattenkirk, Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich. Michael Grabner potted two goals to round out the scoring and after a sluggish start out of the gate, the Blueshirts are now back at .500 and looking more like the playoff bound team they were last season. Henrik Lundqvist got the win, making 22 saves.
In Toronto, the Maple Leafs scored a 4-3 overtime shoot-out win over the upstart Las Vegas Goldebn Knights when Mitch Marner scored the game winner in the shoot-out round, calming down a bouncing puck and then putting a good deke on Vegas goalie Maxime Lagace to stuff home the winner. Nazem Kadri added two goals for the Leafs.
In a back and forth contest between two rival eastern conference teams, the Boston Celtics turned to their newest superstar to pull out the team's ninth win in a row. Kyrie Irving drained a three pointer with about 90 seconds left in regulation to put Boston ahead for good and score a 110-107 win over the struggling Hawks in Atlanta. Irving was all over the score sheet, pouring in 35 points in the Boston victory, while rookie Jayson Tatum added 21. Playing against his former long-time team, Al Horford recorded a double double with 15 points, and 10 rebounds to go with nine assists. Atlanta was coming of an upset win over Cleveland, just their second win of the season, as they're in rebuilding mode, but they gave the 9-2 Celtics all they could handle last night, and tomorrow night we'll see if one of the greatest rivalries in sports can be revived when rookie sensation Lonzo Ball and the L.A. Lakers visit the Celtics for the first contest of the year between them.
In Monday Night football action the Detroit Lions were supposed to have turned a corner this season, ready to be among the NFL's elite after signing quarterback Matthew Stafford to the biggest contract in league history, but after a 3-1 start they lost three in a row and were beginning to look like the sad sack Detroit team that's been a perennial playoff no-show for most of their history, but they got back to .500 last night with a 30-17 victory over the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Stafford threw for 361 yards and two touchdown passes to Marvin Jones, and reached the 200 touchdown career milestone with those two TDs. It was a much-needed win for the Lions but comes with the caveat that they were facing the Packers without the services of Green Bay's all-star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is out indefinitely after breaking his collar bone. The Pack are also 4-4 after the loss.