“I’m not sure you can do it again,” Bruce Cassidy said. “If you tried it 100 times with no players on the ice. The way we lost the game at the end is obviously, it’s probably indescribable to be perfectly honest with you.”
Hold that anticipation and explanation for just a bit while the stage is set for Saturday night’s frantic finish.
The past Thursday night a 2-1 win over Joe Thornton’s Sharks. Saturday night it’s the resurgent Los Angeles Kings with an 8-1-1 mark and a 4-1-0 road record. The B’s with a less-than-impressive seesaw 4-3-1 record – and without a two-game winning streak so far this season.
Tuukka Rask back from concussion protocol with but one win in four starts playing his 400th career game. At the other end, former UMass standout with two Stanley Cups Jonathan Quick at 6-1-1 and a lights-out 1.88 GAA; 1.96 and nine wins in 13 career game against the Black and Gold.
Here’s what we learned as the Bruins lost the game in a finish that can, indeed, be only described as “indescribable.”
Brad Marchand inches closer to 200
Charlie McAvoy showed why he’s among the NHL rookie leaders in scoring when he pinched the left dasher and shoveled a pass across to a streaking Brad Marchand who put a backhand tip past Quick for a quick 1-0 lead – and his 199th career goal — 5:27 into the first period. Bjork also assisting.
Torey Krug airmailed Tyler Toffoli a gift-pass gaffe from behind Rask and it was quickly 1-1 at 9:01 when Toffoli rifled it home unassisted from 10 feet.
Scoreless second puts outcome in the final 20 – and beyond
A scoreless second period found the Bruins outshot, 12-5. The telling stat into the final 20 minutes: Los Angeles was undefeated at 4-0-0 when entering the third period tied.
Paul Postma took a delay of game two minutes in but the Bruins held serve. Two minutes later, the B’s NHL fourth-best man-advantage went to work. And LA held serve.
The save of the game – a Rask glove on a 10-foot bullet by Alex Iafello with 40 ticks in regulation. Shots even at 26 after regulation.
OT a fans’ delight – for 4:59
Drew Doughty and Patrice Bergeron matching penalties at 13 seconds in a rough-and-tumble start to overtime. The saves of OT: Quick on McAvoy at the half-way mark; then Rask on Toffoli seconds later; then Quick on a Bjork breakaway with a minute left; then a Quick split-second split on McAvoy with a few ticks left.
How it all played out
“Well, we have control of the puck, with I think four seconds left. So let’s even play out the last four seconds,” Cassidy said. “We find ourselves icing it. Time put back on the clock. Kind of a faceoff plan about just trying not to lose it clean. Clearly with two wingers on the ice, that’s where you look back as a coach.”
One winger was David Pastrnak forced to take the faceoff with Patrice Bergeron on the bench and no opp for Cassidy to make the change, given Krug’s icing. But Pastrnak’s faceoff inexperience was evident.
With 0.9 remaining – that’s nine-tenths of one second – and Quick out of the Kings net off a Kings timeout and an icing call, Toffoli took the Anze Kopitar draw off the faceoff and found daylight past Rask for the game-winning goal with 0.4 remaining. Ironically, the clock showed .4 remaining before the referee changed it to 0.9.
“At the end of the day even with that amount of time – and to think it’s conceivable to think they can drop the puck, win the puck back and get it in the net in 0.9 seconds to me – you don’t even think that can happen,” a totally bewildered Cassidy said. “And to travel through a defenseman and a forward, and a goaltender untouched is the last part of it. There were some things we could have done better clearly to prevent that goal.
“I told them, if you get thrown out in faceoff infraction, it’s a five on three. I guess it got – the faceoff happened quick and [Pastrnak] didn’t have time to get thrown out. I learned a lesson tonight.”
“I didn’t see that one coming. It’s always something new I guess in this game,” Rask said.
“That’s one of those things that happens once in a blue moon,” Marchand added.
Blue – a good adjective to describe the mood in the Hub of Hockey Saturday night in one for the record book.
“I’ve never seen it in my hockey career to work like that, or that fast,” Kopitar said in the Kings locker room.