GLENDALE, Ariz. — No obstacle is too big for the Boston Bruins these days. Their first deficit in two weeks? No problem. Rallying in the second of back-to-back road games? Easy pickins.
Right winger Jarome Iginla scored the game-tying goal early in the third period and right winger Shawn Thornton redirected left winger Daniel Paille’s tough angle shot with 3:18 remaining for the game-winner as Boston won its 12th straight game with a 4-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night at Jobing.com Arena.
Boston is two short of the franchise record for consecutive wins, set in the 1929-30 season.
“We don’t want any easy games. We want to get better as a team and this kind of game allows you to do that,” Boston coach Claude Julien said. “It showed a lot of character in the third to come back and win that. We did all the right things, we were determined to win and it showed.”
The Bruins got on the board just 3:25 into the game when defenseman Andrej Meszaros intercepted Phoenix goalie Mike Smith’s high clearing attempt at the blue line and sent the puck back toward the net. Center Patrice Bergeron eventually banged it in for a 1-0 lead.
The Coyotes evened the game midway through the period when right winger Shane Doan collected a rebound of left winger Brandon McMillan’s shot off a feed from center Mike Ribeiro and flipped it over diving Boston goalie Tuukka Rask.
Phoenix defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson gave the Coyotes their only lead when he picked up the puck in his own zone, weaved through the neutral zone and put a stunning stick fake on Boston right winger Louis Eriksson at the blue line to walk in alone on Rask. Rask stopped Ekman-Larsson’s first attempt, but the Swedish Olympian knocked the rebound in for a 2-1 lead after two periods.
“I was looking for someone to pass it to but I didn’t see anybody so I just figured I’d do it by myself,” Ekman-Larsson said.
Phoenix was 21-4-3 when leading after two periods, but that didn’t matter to the Bruins, who just kept coming with pressure despite road-weary legs. Boston tied it during 4-on-4 play when Iginla redirected defenseman Zdeno Chara’s shot from the point early in the third period for his team-leading 27th goal of the season.
“In these tight games, being able to go with four lines and be able to keep that forecheck, we get better chances as the third (period) goes on,” Iginla said. “Honestly, it just feels really good as a team; it’s been fun. We go into each game and try to have the same approach.”
Doan blamed himself for allowing Iginla’s game-altering goal to materialize off a 2-on-2 rush.
“That one was my fault,” he said. “I got caught low. I can’t let that happen when it’s 4-on-4 hockey.”
Thornton’s game-winner came from in front of Smith when he got his stick on Paille’s high shot from the far side of the faceoff circle. Iginla added an empty netter for his 558th career goal, moving two past Johnny Bucyk into sole possession of 25th all time.
“You usually get what you deserve,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. “We didn’t win enough battles down low. Their defensemen had a lot of shots at the net and that comes directly from losing battles low.
“That’s part of their identity. They try to beat you one-on-one and we didn’t win enough of those one-on-one battles at the right times. It came back to bite us.”
NOTES: Coyotes RW Shane Doan scored 11:45 into the game, marking the first time Boston had allowed a first-period goal in 11 games. … Doan’s goal was his 20th of the season, giving him 12 NHL seasons with 20 or more goals. … Coyotes D Keith Yandle’s 382 consecutive games played represent the second-longest streak in franchise history and the third-longest active streak in the NHL. … When Coyotes D Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored a power-play goal early in the second period, it broke a streak of 20 straight periods in which the Bruins had not trailed. The last time they had trailed was in the second period of a March 9 win over the Florida Panthers. … D Derek Morris played his 1,100th career game on Saturday. … Coyotes co-owner Anthony LeBlanc announced via Twitter that Saturday’s game broke the regular-season single-game franchise revenue record. … Bruins Cs Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci own the NHL’s two highest plus-minus ratings at plus-36 and plus-35.