BOSTON (AP) — In Nick Ritchie’s second game, the Boston Bruins saw the player they were hoping for.
The former Ducks forward had a goal and an assist for his first points since Boston acquired him at the trade deadline, and the NHL-leading Bruins snapped a two-game losing streak by beating the Dallas Stars 4-3 on Thursday night.
“Nick was much better than the other night,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “I’m not going to say he’s going to get two points every night; probably somewhere in between. But that’s what we expect of him.”
Brad Marchand broke a second-period tie and Ritchie scored 87 seconds later to make it 3-1. Then after Denis Gurianov cut the deficit to one early in the third, Ritchie fed David Pastrnak in the slot to again make it a two-goal game.
Jaroslav Halak stopped 31 shots, and Charlie Coyle scored on a double-tipped swat out of the air for Boston. The Bruins earned their 92nd point and first since acquiring Ritchie and Ondrej Kase before the trade deadline.
Ben Bishop made 24 saves and John Klingberg also scored for the Stars, who had won two straight and seven of their previous nine games.
“There’s no reason we can’t play with that team,” said Dallas forward Joe Pavelski, who had a fight with David Krejci in the second period. “We felt that tonight.”
The Bruins traded Danton Heinen to Anaheim on Monday for Ritchie, who flew to Boston that night and was on the ice the next morning for an optional skate. Against Calgary on Tuesday night, he had a turnover that led to a key goal in the Flames 5-2 victory.
On Thursday, he was more like the guy who the Bruins think can help them make it back to the Stanley Cup Final.
“The energy feels a little higher. I felt better in my legs,” he said.
Klingberg scored a power-play goal with just over two minutes left in the first on a wrist shot from the point. But the Bruins tied it on an advantage with 16 seconds left in the period, when the puck bounced off Bishop’s chest, Coyle batted it with the shaft of his stick and then knocked it in with the blade.
It was still 1-1 midway through the second when Krejci and Pavelski got in a fight, with Krejci landing several solid blows to the Stars center’s head. Krejci’s first fight since 2011 got the crowd riled up, and a few minutes later Charlie McAvoy — after whiffing once — slid the puck over to Marchand to give Boston the lead for good.
“That was obviously a big moment,” defenseman Zdeno Chara said. “A guy like that who’s not known for dropping gloves had a good, physical game, standing up for himself.”
The Stars cut it to 4-3 with Bishop out for an extra skater when Halak made a great right leg save on Miro Heiskanen, but the puck bounced off Chara’s skate and into the net.
NOTES: Marchand extended his point-scoring streak to eight games. He has two goals and nine assists in that span. … The Stars had been 23-4-3 when scoring the first goal of the game. … Kase made his Boston debut.
Stars: At St. Louis on Saturday.
Bruins: At the New York Islanders on Saturday
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