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  • What we learned: Bruins persevere but only nab one point in Toronto

    Tim Rosenthal October 19, 2019

    TORONTO — Secondary scoring — check.

    Their best second period of the season — check.

    Quality scoring chances — check.

    The Boston Bruins found their groove after a rough stretch in the middle of the first period after Charlie Coyle set up Jake DeBrusk cut the deficit to 2-1 with his first goal of the season att 19:39. But a lucky bounce on Morgan Reilly’s first of the night at 5:55, and a costly turnover by Sean Kuraly leading to Dmytro Timashov’s first career tally at 15:54 put the Bruins’ in the rare spot of catch-up mode.

    Yet, despite missing some quality scoring chances, the Bruins put themselves in position to earn two points after Danton Heinen and David Pastrnak evened things up at 2-2 and 3-3, respectively during the third period.

    The Bruins persevered but had to settle on just one point. Reilly made sure of that with his second tally with 1:06 left in overtime — tipping in a shot from Mitch Marner past Jaroslav Halak (26 saves) — to give the Leafs their fifth win of the season.

    “I didn’t like that stretch in the middle of the first period where we weren’t competitive enough,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said on a night where the Bruins’ outshot the Leafs 46-29.

    “I thought our start was good; we were on [the puck]. But then we were trading chances a bit and it just didn’t go our way. We just had to be harder on the puck and getting pucks back, and we were. As the game went along second and third period we were [harder on pucks].”

    Here’s what we learned from the Bruins’ 4-3 overtime loss at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday night.

    Bruins get much-needed secondary scoring

    The Bruins entered Saturday’s tilt with 19 goals through the first seven games. Only five of those 19 tallies came from someone outside of their potent top line.

    Saturday was different. The second, third and fourth lines contributed to two-thirds of Boston’s scoring output.

    DeBrusk, in unquestionably his best performance of the young season, had a jump to his game after notching his first of the season. But a missed tap-in opportunity on Frederik Andersen’s doorstep prevented the Edmonton native from adding a second tally.

    But DeBrusk’s goal late in the first gave the Bruins some much-needed life. They carried that momentum into the second and third as Cassidy rolled out all four lines at any given moment.

    Heinen, after Boston’s stellar second period, evened things up with a top corner snapshot just 1:36 into the third.

    A frustrating loss, sure, but the Bruins felt pretty good with the outing their second, third and fourth lines after amassing 20 of the team’s 46 shots on goal. Some of the forwards played better than others, but the Bruins feel they have something to build on with their secondary scoring.

    “It’s coming,” Charlie McAvoy said. “It’s coming. It came tonight and it’s only going to come more and more and in waves and we just have to stay patient.”

    The Bruins stayed patient Saturday night despite trailing 2-0 early. And the top line, well, they weren’t quiet either.

    Pastrnak stayed hot

    Seven goals in three games. If that doesn’t scream top star of the week then I don’t know what does.

    Pastrnak didn’t the same output he did after scoring four against the Ducks and a pair in Thursday’s loss to the Lightning. Heck, he only received credit for two shots on goal in 24:10 of ice time on Saturday night.

    But Pastrnak battled on and gave the Bruins a chance to steal two points after notching his ninth of the season on his patented one-timer.

    Pastrnak could’ve been atop the NHL goal-scoring race last season if it weren’t for a mid-season injury. He may very well find his way up the scoring ranks this season.

    Just think, he’s only 23 years old and hasn’t come close to slowing down any time soon. And even a young star like Pastrnak has plenty of areas he wants to improve on as he hopes to develop into a well-rounded three-zone player just like his fellow linemates, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, who both assisted on Pastrnak’s tying goal.

    But was there any improvement in particular that really put Pastrnak on a torrid pace for 92 goals in 82 games so far this year?

    “Yeah, it must be the gold sticks,” McAvoy said with a chuckle.

    A subtle change from a blue to gold piece of lumber aside, the Bruins landed a game-changer at 24th overall in 2014. Little did they know that he’d consistently produce at this high a rate.

    The Bruins persevered but only have one point to show for it

    One team took advantage of some puck luck, and the other didn’t. This prevented the Bruins from nabbing their sixth victory of the season in a highly entertaining tilt north of the border.

    Sure they had some miscues leading to an early two-goal deficit, but the Bruins checked off a few items on their to-do list. Their strong second period, secondary scoring output and improved 5-on-5 play put them in a spot to come from behind and tally a hard-earned point.

    “We definitely had more focus on those aspects,” DeBrusk said. “It was talked about that everyone wanted to pitch in. We put on 40 shots on them, so give their goaltender credit, they gave them a chance to win tonight and obviously they did the rest.”

    Goals weren’t too hard to come by, but playing with a lead did. But the Bruins have plenty of constructive talking points — both good and bad — to go over before they welcome the Maple Leafs on Tuesday night for the second half of their early-season home-and-home.

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    Tim Rosenthal

    Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.


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