After piecing together an eight-game winning streak dating back to Nov. 19, the Bruins found themselves on the losing end of a 4-3 overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday 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 gave Toews 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 20 minutes of play to drive the game to OT. Two of those goals came in the last five 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.
Here’s what we learned from the evening, as the Bruins still don’t have a regulation loss at home.
Torey Krug ties it up. On to overtime. pic.twitter.com/ulsm7hIj5D
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) December 6, 2019
Boston’s power play is fallible.
The Bruins had multiple attempts to show off what’s been a dynamic part of their game all year. Despite sporting the league’s second-best power-play unit, the Bruins went a dismal 0-for-4 with only 10 shots on goal Thursday, and they 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. “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 took 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 the middle of the third frame that caught fans’ and players’ 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 I didn’t like and thought something had to be done, and I stepped in and did something.”
? John Moore on stepping up for David Pastrnak in his return from shoulder surgery: “I didn’t like the hit and thought it had to be addressed. Maybe in my first game after shoulder surgery it’s not the best time, but it’s just the way I am." pic.twitter.com/kNb2MEdHct
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) December 6, 2019
Pastrnak, while hoping for the best regarding Moore’s health, appreciated the gesture. Moore gave a positive prognosis after admitting to seeing doctors following his fight with Smith.
David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand were held in check.
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 dominant group of forwards.
“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.”