WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Center Patrice Bergeron scored a pair of goals and left winger Brad Marchand added his team-leading 26th to spark the Boston Bruins to a 6-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.
Marchand snapped a 2-2 tie with a breakaway goal on Winnipeg goaltender Connor Hellebuyck with 1:15 left in a wild first period. The 27-year-old native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, has scored in five straight games and has 11 goals in his last 11 contests for Boston (29-19-6).
His career high for goals in a single season is 28, registered during the 2011-12 campaign.
“(Marchand) means a lot,” said Boston bench boss Claude Julien, who is now just a win shy of 500 for his NHL coaching career. “You see what he does. He’s a good penalty killer, he’s a great goal scorer and he’s also good on the power play. He’s been really good as of late. Any chance he buries.
“He’s been a real sparkplug for our hockey club. He keeps us alive, and when you play with that kind of confidence and you have that much skill and speed, it makes for a pretty good player.”
Marchand also set up Bergeron’s 20th goal of the season at 1:38 of the first period. Bruins right winger Loui Eriksson notched his 17th of the season, sandwiched between center Bryan Little’s 17th and right winger Nikolaj Ehlers’ 13th of his rookie campaign for Winnipeg (24-27-3).
Boston led 3-2 after the first, while the second period was scoreless.
Right winger David Pastrnak notched his fifth goal of the season 35 seconds into the third period, Bergeron added his second of the game and 21st of the year at 7:42 to widen the lead and right winger Jimmy Hayes scored his 12th into an empty net with 4:48 left.
Right winger Brett Connolly had his best offensive output of the season, chipping in three assists.
Tuukka Rask made 34 saves in goal for Boston, while Hellebuyck stopped just eight of 11 shots before being replaced by Michael Hutchinson. He blocked 25 shots in 40 minutes of relief.
There was no shortage of offense in the opening 20 minutes as the Bruins took a 3-2 lead into the dressing room.
Marchand burned defenseman Mark Stuart with a nifty move in the slot and dished the puck over to Bergeron, who chipped it into a wide-open net to open the scoring at 1:38.
The lead was short-lived, as Little took a no-look pass from right wing Blake Wheeler and whipped a snap shot past Rask at 3:29.
Eriksson gave Boston the lead back with just 3:26 left in the period when he drove to the net and beat Hellebuyck with a snap shot low to the far side.
Ehlers knotted the score 2-2 on a power play, firing a high, hard wrist shot Rask couldn’t handle at 17:30.
Marchand’s breakaway goal, coming on a deke at 18:45 after he picked up the puck and raced past defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, lifted the visitors their third lead of the period.
Hellebuyck finished the period but was replaced by Hutchinson to start the middle frame. It was the second time in as many starts at home the rookie goalie didn’t stick around past the first period.
Hutchinson didn’t face a shot for nearly 10 minutes but was pressed to make 14 stops the rest of the second period, including three great saves with the Bruins swarming on the power play to keep it one-goal game heading into the third.
The Jets had been riding a two-game win streak. It’s the eighth time this season the club had won two in a row but fell short of a third straight triumph.
Boston head coach Claude Julien is one win shy of his 500th NHL victory.Winnipeg opens a four-game road trip Saturday night in Edmonton before heading southeast for games against Carolina, Tampa Bay and Florida.
The Bruins continue their longest road trip of the season, a six-game trek with stops in Minnesota, Detroit, Columbus, Nashville and Dallas.