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  • Takeaways: Bruins overcome sloppy outing to down Habs in OT

    Tim Rosenthal March 15, 2024

    The Boston Bruins hardly established a clean performance in their final tilt of their centennial season with the Montreal Canadiens.

    A few days removed from a sloppy outing against St. Louis, Jim Montgomery’s squad sustained a torrid pace in the opening minutes, outshooting the Habs 8-1 and jumping out to a 1-0 lead after Danton Heinen buried a David Pastrnak rebound past Sam Montembeault just 4:49 in.

    The Bruins couldn’t sustain that solid start. They eventually found themselves back at square one after a Brandon Carlo turnover along the walls led to Nick Suzuki’s equalizer at 14:37 of the opening frame.

    Over the next 40 minutes and change, the Original Six rivals engaged in a sloppy, tight-checking pace. The tough bounces and ill-timed passes led to both teams encountering issues clearing the puck out of harm and establishing extensive zone time in their attacking end.

    Neither team compiled a work of art worthy of the highlight reels. But in the end, the Bruins converted on one more bounce as Jake DeBrusk corralled a forehand, backhand deke off Brad Marchand’s feed to cap off the 2-1 victory just 25 seconds into overtime.

    “We weren’t Picasso by any means,” head coach Jim Montgomery told NESN’s Andy Brickley. “But we did find a way to win.”

    Here’s what we learned following Boston’s first 3-on-3 OT win since Feb. 21 in Edmonton.

    A timely check by Hampus Lindholm leads to DeBrusk’s winner.

    Last year, the Bruins showcased various means to secure wins en route to their record-breaking regular season. With this year’s transitional roster, however, their blueprint for success is a little more cut and dry.

    Marchand analyzed it best following Boston’s 4-1 win over the Maple Leafs last Thursday.

    “We’ve always been a checking team that can score, not a scoring team that can check,” Marchand said.

    Their scoring evaded them in Montreal. The checking game, while not perfect, remained effective and played a pivotal role in DeBrusk’s game-winner.

    The Bruins lost the only faceoff of overtime. But they recovered in time as the Habs tried to set up an attacking zone cycle with Hampus Lindholm, shielding Mike Mattheson along the walls to win a puck battle. Marchand promptly provided Lindholm with an outlet, thus creating transition down the other end of the ice.

    Within seconds, Marchand found DeBrusk for the OT winner.

    “It felt good because our checking skills got us the turnover that led to the 2-on-1 that ended the game,” Montgomery said in his postgame interview with Brickley.

    The Bruins persevered to a rare 3-on-3 victory.

    A common theme nearly popped up on the Bruins late in regulation. 

    Just minutes after failing to convert on a Suzuki double-minor for high-sticking, the Bruins entered scramble mode in the final minute. The Habs generated a handful of quality looks as Boston’s D struggled to clear pucks from harm.

    Unlike previous outings, the Bruins wouldn’t have come away with one point if the Habs pounced late in regulation. Instead, they regrouped and quickly found paydirt for their fifth 3-on-3 victory of the season.

    “It wasn’t our best,” DeBrusk told NESN’s Adam Pellerin. “You got to give them credit as well. They definitely played a harder game from the last time we saw them in Boston, so we knew they were going to be a little more intense. I think it was one of those days where we stuck with our game. Obviously, it was sloppy at times, and games this time of year usually are. But we found a way to win.”

    Come late April, the Bruins won’t have to worry about 3-on-3 overtime. But they surely could use a breather after completing their 24th extra session outing.

    “It’s nice to get an overtime win,” DeBrusk added. “It seems like we had 45 overtimes, so hopefully, we can even it out.”

    A confident Beecher shined in his Boston return.


    Between cap complications and a slight dropoff in production from his early-season pace, the Bruins assigned their 2019 first-round selection to Providence in late January.

    Even as Beecher’s faceoff success declined a tad, the Bruins sorely missed his prowess from the circle. But his recent AHL stint provided Beecher with more opportunities to grow. In turn, the rookie forward thrived in a middle-six role with expanded special teams and late-game opportunities at center and wing.

    The versatile Beecher returned to Boston on an emergency basis earlier this week. On Thursday, Beecher started at wing on, but returned to the middle for faceoffs and other situational moments that dictated such a move.

    The speedy checking line forward provided a needed element to Boston’s bottom six. And in overtime, the coaching staff turned to Beecher to take the first faceoff.

    Beecher didn’t win that draw in OT. But he hopped over the bench in time for Marchand to support Lindholm en route to the game-winning sequence.

    “It’s one of those things that gives me a ton of confidence,” Beecher told reporters. “Seeing that they have that trust in me going forward is massive. Faceoffs are a huge part of my game and how I’m going to help the team win down the stretch. I felt I was able to do a pretty good job inside the dot today, so yeah, I just have to keep building on that and keep going.”

    In his first NHL tilt since Jan. 13 in St. Louis, Beecher won eight of 11 draws from the dot and logged 11:39 of time on ice.

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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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