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  • Takeaways: Bruins OT record is concerning, but not alarming

    Tim Rosenthal February 23, 2024

    Chalk the Bruins’ recent overtime setback in Calgary as a missed opportunity.

    After another sloppy opening 20 minutes, Jim Montgomery’s squad appeared prime for a letdown less than 24 hours after securing a wild OT win over the Edmonton Oilers. If it weren’t for Charlie Coyle capitalizing on Jakob Markstrom’s head-scratching blunder late in the opening frame, the Bruins might not have even come away with one point in their second tilt of the season with the Flames.

    In prototypical Bruins fashion of late, they wasted whatever momentum from Coyle’s tally at 18:41 of the opening frame when Martin Pospisil buried a rebound a mere 42 seconds later.


    Slowly, but surely, the Bruins found their skating legs over the final 40.

    The defensive lapses, while still prevalent, weren’t as costly near the front of the net, allowing for smoother transitions up ice. Early in the third, Boston’s 200-foot effort eventually paid off after Coyle notched his second of the night after Anthony Richard’s lengthy flip pass off the center ice boards sprung the Weymouth product on a breakaway.

    The Bruins and Flames traded chances during the 3-on-3 overtime. Markstrom made two timely stops and also received a fortunate bounce when Mason Lohrei hit iron just moments before the game-winning sequence.

    The Flames developed a 3-on-1 situation after Markstrom denied David Pastrnak’s shot. With Charlie McAvoy caught deep in an attempt for a secondary bid, Nazem Kadri quickly transitioned the puck up ice and secured Calgary’s 3-2 win after beating Linus Ullmark glove side.


    Here’s what we learned after the Bruins took three of four points from the Alberta leg of their four-game road trip.

    The 3-on-3 OT record is concerning but not alarming.

    The Bruins turned overtime into a habit during their centennial campaign.

    Thursday marked their fourth straight game decided by an extra session. Overall, the Bruins compiled the second most OT appearances with 15, just one shy of the league-leading Islanders.

    The 3-on-3 results haven’t been too kind to the Bruins. At times, they limped into bonus hockey after relinquishing multiple third-period leads. In other instances, they watched a come-from-behind bid come up short.

    On this night, they countered the latter scenario en route to their 10th OT setback.

    “We showed some grit throughout the game, and it didn’t come out the way we wanted to,” Ullmark told the media following his 27-save outing. “We had a good conversation. The boys were high in spirits after the first [period], and we knew what needed to be done to be successful out there. We showed that in the second and the third and battled back, and we stuck with it, and we got a point out of it.”

    The Bruins benefitted from their overtime and shootout appearances this season. Had their 12 extra session losses instead turned into regulation defefats, the Bruins would be sitting in wild card territory with 68 points. Instead, they remain atop the Atlantic Division with a two-point lead over the Panthers entering the weekend.

    The 3-on-3 records become moot once the playoffs begin. Success in regular season overtime isn’t guaranteed to carry over into the playoffs and the tiebreaking sudden-death 5-on-5 OT format.

    While their OT troubles could come back to haunt the Bruins in the division race, they’re nowhere in danger of losing ground beyond a top-three spot in the Atlantic. And while their latest setback may sting, the overall effort from Thursday’s outing in Calgary provided another building block.

    “All these points add up, and we want to make sure we rack up as many as we can, and sometimes you’ve got to grind your way to do that,” Coyle told reporters. “It kind of stings when you don’t get the full two, but you can’t really fault our effort too much. I think it was right there, and when you play well on the road, that’s something to build on.”

    The Bruins continue to pile up points on the road.

    Upon their return from break, the Bruins encountered the usual distractions of everyday life during their longest home stretch of the season. Their latest round of bonding time couldn’t have come any sooner following their 2-3-2 mark over their last seven at TD Garden.

    Despite the recent hiccups, the Bruins haven’t performed poorly in front of the Causeway faithful, compiling an 18-7-5 record over their first 30 games. But their success on the road through the first two months of 2024 provided a more unique outlook.

    Granted, some of their troubling trends continued. But the slow starts, the defensive lapses in front of the net and game management mishaps haven’t prevented the Bruins from notching points in each of their last 11 road games.

    “That’s something you want to keep building on,” Coyle told reporters. “That’s a decent part of our game where we go on the road; it’s not always easy. Whether you’re playing a back-to-back or not, it’s always going to be a tough one in somebody else’s building.”

    Conversely, returning home following a road slump can also provide a fresh perspective. The Vancouver Canucks, losers of four straight, will encounter said scenario on Saturday when they welcome the Bruins after suffering three consecutive setbacks away from their Rogers Arena confines.

    Coyle breaks skid, reaches 20 goals for the first time since 2015-16.

    The Bruins endured a night where Montgomery threw his lineup into a proverbial blender following a slow start. Amid the latest round of changes, Coyle once again provided a steady hand in top-six duty.

    No matter his role or responsibilities, Coyle’s ascension provided a welcoming development in the first season without Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. He’s making the most of his increased ice time at even-strength and special teams duty, serving as one of the primary forward options on the penalty kill, while also spending time throughout the year on the primary and secondary power play units.

    Coyle’s scoring production hit a snag during Boston’s seven-game homestand. On Thursday, a day removed from notching his first point in five games, the 31-year-old reached the 20-goal mark for the first time since notching 21 with the Wild in the 2015-16 campaign, snapping an eight-game skid in the process.

    Coyle’s recent scoring droughts only interrupted his quest to surpass his previous career highs in every offensive category. And while the cap-strapped Bruins could use some upgrades down the middle during the trade deadline, they’ll at least have a little confidence heading into the home stretch with Coyle anchoring the first or second line.

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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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