GLENDALE, Ariz. – For the first time in seven games, the Boston Bruins actually fell behind.
It didn’t last, and the third-longest win streak in franchise history is still alive.
The Bruins scored three times in the third period, the go-ahead goal by Shawn Thornton with 3:18 to play, and Boston won its 12th in a row, 4-2 over the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night.
The Bruins are two shy of the franchise mark of 14 straight set in the 1929-30 season. They also have the most points in the NHL with 103, two more than Western Conference-leading St. Louis. The Blues clinched a playoff berth as a result of Phoenix’s loss.
They managed their third-period rally despite the fact they were playing their second game in as many nights.
“Tonight in my mind, it showed a lot of our character,” Boston coach Claude Julien said. “We needed to show a lot of character there in the third to come back and we did. We did all the right things and we were determined to win and it showed.”
Jarome Iginla scored his 27th and 28th goals of the season for Boston, the second into an empty net in the final seconds.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson had a spectacular goal to put Phoenix ahead 2-1 in the second period. Shane Doan scored the other Coyotes goal on a power play. The loss snapped Phoenix’s three-game winning streak.
Tuukka Rask, who did not play in Friday night’s win at Colorado, had 30 saves for Boston. Phoenix’s Mike Smith had 24.
The loss and Dallas’ victory left the Coyotes two points ahead of the Stars for the final playoff spot in the West. Dallas has a game in hand.
Phoenix had a 2-1 lead just 39 seconds into the second period thanks to Ekman-Larsson’s heroics.
He took the puck from his own blue line, then evaded two would-be defenders, making a slick move that left Johnny Boychuk and Loui Eriksson in a heap. Rask deflected the first shot, but Ekman-Larsson knocked the rebound in as he sailed by the net.
“I skated it up and I was looking for someone to pass to,” Ekman-Larsson said, “but I didn’t see anybody so I figured I’d do it by myself.”
It ended a streak of almost 411 minutes, more than 20 periods, that the Bruins had never trailed. It was the first time in seven games that Boston trailed.
The Bruins turned up their trademark tough, physical play in the final period.
“They try to beat you 1-on-1,” Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said, “and we didn’t win enough of those 1-on-1 battles at the right times, and it came back to bite us.”
Boston tied it at 2 when Zdeno Chara’s shot deflected off Iginla’s hip and into the net 3:48 into the third period.
With much of the final period played in the Coyotes zone, Boston took the lead when Daniel Paille shot from a difficult angle to the left of the net, but it deflected off Thornton’s stick and got past Smith for the score—only the fifth goal of the season for the Bruins left wing.
“I’m glad it went in,” Thornton said. “Everyone had a lot of chances tonight and it was a little bit frustrating for us until then. I mean, we were creating a lot of stuff, but nothing was going in. Happy we got rewarded for some hard work eventually.”
Boston took the lead in a hurry in the opening period.
After Smith turned the puck over, Patrice Bergeron knocked it in from a crowd in front of the Coyotes net for his 22nd goal of the season, the puck slipping in just past the Coyotes goalie’s leg.
Phoenix tied it when Brandon McMillan’s shot from close range bounced off Rask and Shane Doan scored to make it 1-1 with 8:15 left in the first.
It was the first time in 11 games that the Bruins have allowed a first-period goal.
Notes: The Bruins won their seventh straight road game. … Boston is 16-4-4 against the Western Conference. … The Bruins’ last loss was March 1 at home against Washington. … The 12-game streak is third-longest in franchise history. The Bruins won 13 in a row in 1970-71. … Phoenix lost at Boston 2-1 nine days earlier. … Doan got his 20th goal, the 12th time in his career he’s scoredat least 20 in a season. … A standing-room-only crowd of 17,468 watched the game.