Sean Kuraly provided the heroics — again — as the Boston won the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day, but the Bruins have to put that special moment behind them and get ready for the explosive Calgary Flames on Thursday night.
Boston’s fourth-line center had an overtime goal in Buffalo to beat the Sabres 3-2 on Saturday, and his tally Tuesday at Notre Dame Stadium broke a 2-2 tie and helped the Bruins claim the Winter Classic with a 4-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.
The club returns to Boston to open a four-game homestand against the Flames, but those special moments for some of the Bruins’ superstars likely still linger.
Top-line center Patrice Bergeron used his hustling defensive play to break up a Chicago short-handed breakaway with the Blackhawks up 2-1, and his power-play marker 28 seconds later turned the tide to tie it.
David Pastrnak matched his center’s output by recording his 24th goal on a power-play and adding an assist. On Wednesday, the NHL announced that Pastrnak, 22, had been selected to the All-Star Game in San Jose, where he will make his first appearance in the midseason exhibition.
Left winger Brad Marchand locked down Boston’s second consecutive win with an empty-net goal. He then basked in the scene after the game, lying on the ice in the shadows of Notre Dame’s Golden Dome and creating a snow angel as he soaked up the glory of being in the iconic setting.
“Towards the end of the game, you realize it’s coming to an end, and you just kind of want to stay out there and enjoy it,” Marchand told NHL.com.
Boston will have to contend with Calgary’s own dynamite, diminutive left winger — 5-foot-9 whiz Johnny Gaudreau.
He had a four-point game (two goals, two assists) in the Flames’ 8-5 home win over San Jose on New Year’s Eve in the last NHL game to go final in 2018, and he backed that up with another four-point outing in Detroit on Wednesday.
He had a hand in the first four goals in the Flames’ 5-3 win over the Red Wings, notching three assists and then netting the go-ahead, power-play tally in the third period as Calgary played in the first game of its fifth back-to-back set.
The Flames improved to 5-0-0 in the first of back-to-back games, and they are 3-0-1 in their past four overall.
Next up, Gaudreau is back in Boston, where the New Jersey native starred at Boston College.
Gaudreau has recorded 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in his past 10 games. He established a career-best month in December when he totaled 26 points (11-15) in 14 games.
Calgary will have its own outdoor contest next season as the league announced Tuesday that the Flames and Winnipeg Jets will meet in the 2019 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic in Regina, Saskatchewan, on Oct. 26.
“I had such a great time (playing outdoors against the Montreal Canadiens in 2011), and I’m sure we will again,” Flames captain Mark Giordano said. “Playing another Canadian team in a city like Regina in Mosaic Stadium will be a great atmosphere, I am really looking forward to it.”
Flames goaltender David Rittich is sidelined due to a lower-body injury and did not dress in Detroit, forcing Calgary to call up backstop Jon Gillies from its AHL affiliate in Stockton, Calif.
—Field Level Media