The Boston Bruins got their season-opening four-game Western Conference road swing off to a good start Thursday night with their 2-1 win over the Dallas Stars.
Next up for the Bruins on Saturday is a team regarded as among those on the rise: the Arizona Coyotes.
Boston scored twice in the first six minutes against Dallas and received 28 saves from Tuukka Rask. The defending Eastern Conference champions got goals from Brett Ritchie and Danton Heinen, then their defense limited the Stars the rest of the way.
“It’s a good road win, on to the next one,” said Ritchie, who only found out he was going to play during the pregame skate.
Ritchie was asked what he knows about Arizona.
“They’re young and fast. Brought in a couple of new guys. They’re going to be the real thing, they’re getting to be no joke,” he said.
Boston’s streak of 14 straight wins over the Coyotes is on the line. The Bruins’ last lost to club on Oct. 9, 2010 when the team was known as the Phoenix Coyotes.
The Bruins played without center David Krejci on Thursday due to the lingering effects of a lower-body injury. Krejci had 73 points — 53 on assists — last season for Boston and could be ready to play in Arizona.
The talk around the Bruins on Friday, however, was centered around broadcaster Jack Edwards, who took criticism on social media for calling what looked to be a serious injury to Dallas defenseman Roman Polak “bad hockey karma.”
Polak had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher and to a local hospital.
The Coyotes have higher expectations this season after making it all the way to the penultimate regular-season game of 2018-19 before being eliminated from playoff contention.
Their goal is to end a streak of seven consecutive seasons without making the playoffs.
Arizona’s season started out with a 2-1 loss at Anaheim on Thursday night, head coach Rick Tocchet’s third straight season-opening loss in his tenure at the helm. Derek Stepan scored Arizona’s lone goal, with Phil Kessel, the team’s key offseason acquisition, notching an assist.
“It was a good 3-on-2. That’s the sort of stuff you’re looking for from those type of people, scoring off the rush like that,” Tocchet said. “(Kessel) can make those type of plays.”
Darcy Kuemper is the No. 1 goaltender to start the season, as he was at the end of last season, because Antti Raanta still has conditioning to finish up before being added to the active roster. Kuemper’s value was validated when the team signed him to a two-year contract extension this week, and he came out of Thursday with 27 saves.
The No. 1 concern for the Coyotes is scoring, and it could be difficult to start the season. After the Bruins come the Vegas Golden Knights, then a two-game road trip to Colorado and Winnipeg.
Saturday’s game — the Coyotes’ home opener — is likely to be a sellout at Gila River Arena.
–Field Level Media