Boston, MA – The Boston Bruins entered Sunday night’s contest against the Calgary Flames at TD Garden, riding a three-game winning streak. The Flames came in on a two-game winning streak of their own. Calgary scored two goals in just over a minute in the third period to pull away for a 4-0 win over the Bruins. The Flames leave Boston with the three-game winning streak while the Bruins are left to pick up the pieces.
The Flames came into the game with a 10-1-2 record against the Eastern Conference and an 8-2-2 record on the road. Boston was 6-1-0 at home with a 2-1 record against the Western Conference, 1-1 specifically against the Pacific Division. The home loss and the lone loss to the Pacific came last Thursday against the Oilers. That was the last time that the Bruins struggled in the third period as well.
Sunday’s game was a struggle from the beginning for the home squad. Johnny Gaudreau wasted little time getting re-acquainted with the TD Garden when he beat Jeremy Swayman with a one-timer off of a rebound from the right face-off dot. Juuso Valimaki and Matthew Tkachuk assisted on Gaudreau’s eighth goal of the season. Valimaki fired a shot on goal from the top of the left circle that Swayman saved, but the rebound went straight towards Gaudreau, who stumbled as he shot the puck.
The Bruins had a few decent looks in the first, namely a Taylor Hall chance at the side of Calgary’s net. Nick Foligno got the puck to the net, but Hall fanned on his rebound attempt. When the Bruins did land a shot on goal, Dan Vladar was there to make the save. The former Bruins back-up netminder had 27 saves in notching his second straight shutout. With the win, Vladar is now 4-0-1 on the young season.
Noah Hanafin made it 2-0 Calgary at 13:51 of the second period when he blasted a rebound past Swayman from the bottom of the left circle. Swayman made the initial stop on a Tkachuk shot from the top of the right circle shot, but the puck went directly to a charging Hanafin for his first goal of the season. Tkachuk and Rasmus Andersson assisted.
Early in the third period, Boston had their third power-play of the night; this one came via a Holding call on defenseman Valimaki. The Bruins man advantage struggled on their previous two attempts, but this was disastrous as the Flames had a two-on-zero opportunity almost one minute into the man advantage. Andrew Mangiapane muscled past Charlie McAvoy at the red line and dished to Dillon Dube. Dube fired off a snapshot that Swayman saved, but the 5′-11″ center had a few whacks at the rebound to the right of Swayman at the post. Mangiapane grabbed the loose puck and deposited it past a flailing Swayman before any back-checking Bruins players could help out. Mangiapane’s 15th goal at 3:18 made it 3-0 Flames. Fourteen of Mangiapane goals have come on the road this year. The short-handed goal by Mangiapane was his fifth goal in his last three games.
Michael Backlund put the proverbial nail in the Bruins coffin when his shot from the right circle squeezed through Swayman’s legs at the top of the crease. The puck slowly slid towards the goal, but Bruins forward Charlie Coyle couldn’t pull the puck back before it crossed over the goal line. The play initially carried on as neither official gave a signal. Backlund was awarded his fourth goal of the season on video review at 4:11.
Back to back penalties on Boston all but guaranteed there would be no come-back.
“You’ve got to work to get inside,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “We know what Calgary is all about, even though they’re not in our division. They’ve been through the East twice now, and we’ve seen them. They have seven shutouts for a reason. They work hard to keep the puck out of the net. So, you have to be willing to go in there. Not enough guys wanted to do that tonight.”
“I think it was all execution tonight,” said Patrice Bergeron afterward. “A lot of it was on us, not making the plays, not executing. When it’s going to be a game like that, I think you have to simplify, and I don’t think we did that.”
“He (Dan Vladar) was solid,” said Flames Head Coach Darryl Sutter. “The team was really good in front of him. There weren’t a whole lot of second opportunities in front of him. Boston’s a team that likes to go to the net.”
“It means a lot. I came in with the mindset to just get a ‘W,'” said Vladar. “I wasn’t trying to think about where I’m playing because obviously, I’ve got a bunch of friends on the Bruins team.”
“He’s a great guy, a great teammate,” said Swayman about former teammate Vladar. “I don’t like losing, but I’m happy for him. He’s had success. Yeah, good for him.”
Calgary finally heads back home for a game on Tuesday against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Flames went 4-1-2 on their seven-game road trip. The Bruins will travel to Buffalo for a tilt on Wednesday night versus the Sabres before hosting three straight at TD Garden, starting with Friday’s matinee against the New York Rangers.