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  • Takeaways: Bruins avoid another meltdown and overtime appearance

    Tim Rosenthal March 1, 2024

    Under normal circumstances, the Boston Bruins embarked on an unorthodox route to avoid a record-tying seventh consecutive overtime appearance.

    But, to some, the sequence of events leading to their first regulation win in three weeks looked par for the course.

    “It was such a good first period; let’s not do that again,” joked Jim Montgomery after watching his team jump out to a 3-0 lead in the opening 20 minutes. “Remember the Seinfeld episode, do the complete opposite? I said, ‘Let’s do the complete opposite and keep the crowd in the game.’ We don’t want anyone leaving early, you know?”

    Jerry Seinfeld may chuckle at that reference. But the Causeway Street faithful wanted to avoid another Groundhog Day scenario against a returning Bruce Cassidy and the defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights.

    Morgan Geekie converted on a breakaway and finished a 2-on-1 sequence with David Pastrnak flanking him on the rush to bookend Boston’s three-goal opening frame. In between Geekie’s pair, Boston’s fourth line pounced on a second-effort play after a returning Jakub Lauko fed Jesper Boqvist in the slot.

    A crafty baseball-like tally from Paul Cotter 1:48 into the second set the tone for Vegas’ comeback bid.


    The latest set of leaks around the front of the net seemingly set the Bruins on the path to another collapse.

    With multiple Bruins overskating the puck to clear aa rebound, Alex Pietrangelo followed through on to pull Vegas within one just 5:09 after Cotter’s tally.


    Geekie completed his first career hat trick after tipping Pastrnak’s initial shot attempt past Adin Hill at 16:32. Yet, the Bruins quickly relinquished their two-goal cushion after Michael Amadio notched his 11th of the season after his shot from the slot found its way through traffic against a screened Jeremy Swayman.

    In the third, a struggling Boston power play turned its first attempt into disaster after Chandler Stephenson promptly took advantage of a David Pastrnak turnover to pull even 5:01 in.

    The primary power-play unit failed to cash in on their second attempt, but the secondary unit picked up the slack at a pivotal moment. Mason Lohrei’s one-timer put the Bruins ahead for good with 4:37 remaining.

    Matt Grzelcyk committed an ill-timed holding the stick minor 1:38 after Lohrei’s go-ahead tally. But Boston’s shorthanded unit stood out in closing time, delivering timely clears out of the attacking end and forcing them into mostly perimeter-based attempts to secure their 5-4 win.

    Here’s what we learned following Boston’s first regulation win since their 4-0 triumph over the Canucks on Feb. 8.

    Geekie paces secondary scoring after being robbed — and nicked — in Seattle homecoming.


    For two seasons, Geekie served as a bottom-six standout, helping the expansion Kraken get off the ground.

    He made the most of his time with the league’s 32nd team, providing the Kraken additional complimentary minutes on the penalty kill in addition to his 5v5 duties. He’s encountered an expanded role in Boston, working his way to the middle six.

    With the increase in ice time, Geekie has already surpassed his previous career highs from his final season in the Emerald City. Upon his return to Seattle, Geekie displayed two-way assertiveness on multiple occasions.

    A goaltender interference review in Toronto prevented Geekie from giving his current team a 3-2 lead in the third. As “CSI Toronto” continues to examine the ongoing debate of what constitutes goalie interference, the fourth-year pro picked up where he left off, notching his first career hat trick Thursday.

    “It’s something you don’t really ever think about going into a game,” Geekie said of his three-goal outing. “But it’s always fun, especially when you get two points. So, it was good to close that one out, especially the way we

    The Bruins needed Geekie’s output as Boston’s top six only contributed two points to the scoresheet on Pastrnak’s two helpers. But the 25-year-old centerman wasn’t the only one providing timely secondary scoring.

    Lohrei solidifies encouraging bounce-back effort.

    Ideally, the Bruins would’ve allowed Lohrei more seasoning in Providence. Even with such a high ceiling, the 2020 second-round selection benefitted from eating minutes under numerous scenarios on the top defensive pair and power-play unit.

    The slew of injuries on the back end throughout the 2023-24 campaign prompted the Bruins to promote Lohrei up I-95 on three occasions. In turn, Lohrei showcased more growth and poise with each call-up.

    “I think there was one game where he wasn’t at the level he was on the road trip,” Montgomery said of Lohrei’s recent Boston stint. “In this league, if you have an average or subpar game, that next game, you have to get it back right away. And I thought he did that for us tonight. I really liked his response tonight.”

    That game Montgomery alluded to happened Monday in Seattle.

    At times, Lohrei’s defensive habits provided a stumbling block. In that overtime loss, Lohrei became prone to turnovers, looked hesitant in puck pursuit along the walls and struggled significantly in defending high-danger scoring areas.

    A late arriving Lohrei couldn’t prevent Stephenson from connecting with Amadio on Vegas’ third tally. He ended the night with a minus-one rating because of it. But he more than atoned for that mishap with his clutch power-play marker and otherwise looked more assertive in his own end.

    “You’re going to have bad games, but it’s all about how you bounce back,” Lohrei said. “I just tried to come out tonight and be harder and simple really.”

    The Bruins bounced back in time to avert overtime. But one game won’t alleviate their troubling trend.

    The Bruins will need a timely response to build on Thursday’s win.

    Alas, the Bruins deviated from the script despite relinquishing their 14th lead in the final 20 minutes of play. But with every late-game blunder, they’ve managed to secure a point just by appearing in overtime.

    Against the defending champs, the Bruins found their rhythm following Stephenson’s tally in time to earn a needed regulation victory.

    “To be able to overcome again, giving up a lead, but to come through,” Montgomery said, “I thought in the third period we carried the play for a majority of it.”

    For a team that faced little to no adversity during their record-breaking regular season a year ago, these third-period events may help the Bruins become battle-hardened come playoff time.

    At the same time, they don’t want the closeout trend to linger into the postseason. Nor will the Bruins want multiple bailout efforts like Thursday or last Wednesday in Edmonton.

    One game won’t completely halt their third-period mishaps. Nor will potential defensive and center upgrades at the trade deadline — and that’s if Don Sweeney can somehow fill the significant holes on Boston’s roster.

    The path to Thursday’s victory wasn’t an ideal blueprint. But it can provide a starting point. And perhaps the Bruins will establish another building block on Saturday against an Isles bunch sitting six points in behind the Lightning — with three games in hand — for the East’s second wild-card spot.

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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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