What we learned: Bruins extend point streak but fall to Blackhawks in OT
After eight straight wins dating back to Nov. 19th, the Boston Bruins found themselves on the losing end of a 4-3 overtime loss against the Chicago Blackhawks despite another all too common rally late in the third period.
Even the momentum from two late period goals couldn’t help the Bruins in their latest attempt at a come-from-behind victory.
The winning goal from Jonathan Toews came seconds after an unpopular non-call brought David Pastrnak to the ice. This allowed Toews with plenty of open ice in front of him en route to his game-winner.
But it took some grit from the Bruins to even get to that point.
Despite trailing 3-0 after Alex DeBrincrat’s tally just 17 seconds into the final stanza, the Bruins managed to tie together three straight goals in the last twenty minutes of play to drive the game to OT. Two of those goals came in the last 5 minutes of the third period, courtesy of Chris Wagner’s shorthanded tally and Torey Krug’s equalizer.
Despite the way it ended, the Bruins, in exciting fashion, salvaged one point to extend their point streak to 13 straight games.
After still not having a regulation loss at home, here’s what we learned from Boston’s 4-3 OT loss to Chicago.
The Bruins power play is fallible
The Bruins had multiple attempts to show off their dynamic part of their game all year. Despite sporting the league’s best second-best power-play unit, the Bruins went a dismal 0-for-4 with only 10 shots on goal on Thursday, and even gave up their first shorthanded goal of the season.
In fact, their first two power plays came within the first minute of each of the first two periods, but the early momentum wasn’t there for them on this night.
“Ours has been running pretty well for a while now,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said about the power play struggles. “Maybe it’s just one of those cycles right now where we have to simplify. I think that’s certainly part of it. We’ve left some plays on the table out there that we’ve kind of game-planned before and maybe forced plays.”
John Moore takes one for the team
Moore had an eventful debut with over 16 minutes of ice time in his first game back from a shoulder injury that kept him out of the lineup for over two months.
But it was in the middle of the third frame that caught fans and player’s attention when Moore threw the gloves down with Zack Smith, seconds after Smith hit Pastrnak hard into the boards.
“I don’t know if it was the smartest decision my first game back,” Moore said. “But I saw someone kind of take a liberty on Pasta [Pastrnak] and thought it was my turn. I saw something and didn’t like and thought something had to be done, and I stepped in and did something.”
Moore gave a positive prognosis after admitting to seeing doctors following his fight with Smith.
Pastrnak and Marchand held without a point
The frustration was undeniable throughout the game for both Brad Marchand and Pastrnak as Chicago’s defense held the dynamic top-line wingers in check. Marchand and Pastrnak only fired a combined four shots on goal in one of their rare off nights.
“[Pastrnak] and Marchy both, they’re used to scoring,” Cassidy said postgame. “But these are high-end players that make things happen so you want to let them play their way out of it, so I think that feeds into part of it. They’re used to getting their looks…I think teams are just recognizing that.
“Listen, these are the leading scorers in the league. You’ve got to pay a little more attention to them. It’s going to happen in Edmonton with their two guys, happened last night in Ottawa. I mean it’s going to happen, and we’ll have to find ways to fight through it.”
With Patrice Bergeron still out with an injury, and Cassidy’s lineup shifting away from the “perfection line” because of that, the production has slowed down from this normally dominate group of forwards. While no one can deny that the rate at which they were scoring was unsustainable, it doesn’t make them feel any better.
“I don’t get frustrated really anymore besides when we lose,” Pastrnak commented. “It’s hockey, and why I’m frustrated is that we lost.”
If there is a positive spin on this, it’s that the rest of the team has started to contribute across the lines, driving even more depth throughout the team. Everyone, including Pastrnak, recognizes the balanced scoring as of late.
“In the third period we played like we can and it felt amazing,” Pastrnak said. “Every single line was going after it…and all of a sudden we came back. It shows how strong of a group we are.”