Charlie Coyle’s slump-snapping tally came at perfect time for key cog in B’s lineup

(Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

When the time comes to stitch together the final highlight reel from the 2021 Bruins season, it's safe to assume that a bevy of content will be provided courtesy of Thursday's 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden. 

After all, David Krejci's tightrope act in the third period — in which he maneuvered around Rasmus Dahlin, fooled Henri Jokiharju into skittering through no-man's-land off another toe drag, activated the Eye of Agamotto, ground time to a halt and promptly fed the biscuit to Taylor Hall — was nothing short of O-zone mastery by a suddenly awakened behemoth on Boston's second line.

Of course, there were other plays — David Pastrnak hammering a one-timer into twine off of a feed sailing up toward his laces. Brad Marchand going top shelf off an empty-net strike from 122 feet out.

All filthy displays of skill. All serving as validation that Boston's top-six unit will be a thorn in the side of even the most stout defenses come the postseason.

But when it comes to determining just how long Boston can keep this 2021 campaign going, perhaps the most important play from Thursday's win came off the stick of Charlie Coyle.

The 29-year-old forward's third-period tally was impressive in its own right, with the Weymouth native using his 6-foot-3, 213-pound frame to muscle his way to the Buffalo net — fighting off a pair of Sabres skaters before roofing one past Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s glove.

The goal, serving as Coyle's sixth of this COVID-shortened season, held significant sway over Thursday's result — snapping what was a 2-2 deadlock at the time and jumpstarting a final scoring surge punctuated by both Hall and Marchand's tallies.

But in the bigger picture, finally etching his name back in the scoring column could be the turning point that Coyle needs to right the ship — and get back to being the puck-possessing, third-line ace that they need him to be if this club has its eyes set on a deep postseason run.