By Shawn P. Roarke PRAGUE – Not only did the Boston Bruins get two points from Sunday's 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere game against the Coyotes, but they return to North America with the knowledge they have a pure goal scorer on their roster.
Newcomer Nathan Horton, obtained in an offseason trade with Florida, scored a goal and added an assist as Boston took a 3-0 victory Sunday at O2 Arena to cancel out a 5-2 win by Phoenix on Saturday.
Now, after the last of six Premiere games spread across Europe in the past 96 hours, each team returns home from this season-opening adventure with two points.
Horton, meanwhile, heads to Boston with four points, including three goals. The big forward had both goals in Saturday's loss.
Horton's goal Sunday, Boston's second of the game, perfectly illustrated his ability to snipe.
Capitalizing on some good puck work by David Krejci and Mark Recchi, Horton took the puck in the low slot, spun to get on his forehand and then snapped a filthy top-shelf wrister over the shoulder of Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who didn't have time to react.
Plus, Horton forced a turnover midway through the second period to send Milan Lucic in for Boston's first goal at the 12:12 mark.
Rookie Tyler Seguin added his first career goal on a breakaway in the third period, showing some scoring moves of his own by faking out Bryzgalov while a Phoenix defender was bearing down on him.
While Horton was good in both games to open the season here, Boston was much better Sunday than it was in Saturday's 5-2 loss.
The Bruins (1-1-0) played a much more sound defensive game, suffocating the Phoenix offense for long stretches. In fact, the Coyotes managed just one shot in the first 15 minutes of the second period and was outshot 13-4 to start the game.
Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski delivers a hit on Sunday. Photo by Getty Images.
Plus, the Bruins were much better in puck management, refusing to make the types of turnovers that bedeviled them in Saturday's loss.
Tim Thomas earned the shutout in his first start since offseason hip surgery. Thomas played in place of Tuukka Rask, who gave up four goals Saturday night.
Although he was not extensively tested, Thomas did make several big stops among his 29 saves on the night, including a third-period rush by Taylor Pyatt and a first-period backhander from Eric Belanger in the slot.
Bryzgalov, who stopped 40 shots in Saturday's win, was good again Sunday, stopping the first 25 shots he faced. Boston then scored on back-to-back shots, even though they came more than seven minutes apart.
Bryzgalov finished with 34 saves.
Some of Boston's energy likely came from coach Claude Julien's decision to tinker with the roster and his forward lines Sunday.
Rookie Jordan Caron made his NHL debut in the game, taking the place of the scratched Daniel Paille. Julien also moved veteran Recchi onto Seguin's line after the two showed some good chemistry on the power play in Saturday's game.
Phoenix (1-1-0) stayed with the same lineup as Saturday.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com contributed to this recap.
Late in the second period, Bruins forward Nathan Horton took the puck in the low slot, spun to get on his forehand and then snapped a filthy top-shelf wrister over the shoulder of Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who didn't have time to react.
"I just tried to turn around and hit the net," Horton said.
The goal, scored with just 33 seconds left before the second intermission, gave Boston a 2-0 lead and deflated the Coyotes.
• The Coyotes on Sunday assigned goaltender Al Montoya to San Antonio of the American Hockey League. Montoya was with the team in Prague all week as the "emergency goaltender."
• The Coyotes left Prague for Arizona immediately after the game. The players will have Monday off and then resume practicing on Tuesday in preparation for the home opener vs. Detroit on Saturday. The puck drops at 6 p.m. (Arizona time) on Saturday. The game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona and/or heard on XTRA Sports 910 (AM).
"In order to win games in this league you've got to be on top of your game every game."
"We weathered the storm a little bit...There just wasn't enough push back in our lineup to even come close. They were a desperate hockey team and they won the game."
"I saw the puck in the net and then I raised my arms. I wasn't sure it was in at first. I didn't imagine my first NHL game in Europe, much less my first NHL goal."
• Oct. 9, 2010: PHX 5, BOS 2
• Oct. 10, 2010: BOS 3, PHX 0
1 - 0 BOS
2 - 0 BOS