After beginning the season with six relatively solid starts, Jonas Gustavsson delivered a decidedly second-string effort in his seventh.
The Boston Bruins’ backup goaltender lasted just 21:56 in Friday’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Calgary Flames, allowing three goals on 11 shots before getting the hook early in the second period.
Calgary’s first tally of the night, which came just 33 seconds after puck drop, was more the result of sloppy puck management and poor defensive positioning than poor goaltending on Gustavsson’s part. But the two that followed — one by Mark Giordano and another by Johnny Gaudreau, who finished with three on the night — were ones the veteran netminder should have stopped.
“I thought that second goal was probably a tough one,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said in a postgame interview with NESN’s Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley. “The first shot, we left (Gaudreau) alone there in front of the net. But we had to shake things up there a little bit. I thought we were a little bit flat, and I wanted our team to pick it up.”
Tuukka Rask did lift the Bruins in his first relief appearance of the season, stopping the first 22 shots he faced to keep Calgary off the board until late in the third period. Jiri Hudler finally put one past him with 1.2 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime, and Gaudreau scored the game-winner on the Flames’ second shot of the extra session.
Some additional notes from Friday’s action:
— The defeat dropped Boston to 0-0-2 on its current three-game road trip, with the losses coming to the teams with the two worst records in the Western Conference. The Bruins seemed pleased with their overall effort against Calgary, however, especially compared to their reaction following Wednesday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers.
“I thought that we were better,” captain Zdeno Chara told reporters, as aired on “Bruins Overtime LIVE.” “The effort was better, we worked hard. That part of the game was much better. We got a point out of it, but also, we lost a point. So, it depends how you look at it.”
The results of these last two games have been eerily similar to what transpired on this same road trip last season, when the Bruins lost to the Flames 4-3 in a shootout and to the Oilers 4-3 in overtime.
— Julien was miffed at the officiating after the game, taking particular offense to a high stick that left winger Frank Vatrano bloodied but did not result in a penalty.
“Personally, I thought we should have had a few more power plays,” Julien told Edwards and Brickley. “I think at one point, Vatrano took a stick in the face there, was bleeding and should have had a four-minute power play, and that might have helped us a little bit.
The coach also was seen pleading with referees following a questionable delay-of-game penalty on Chara with less than three minutes to play in the third period.
— Defenseman Kevan Miller was held out of the lineup for a seventh consecutive game. Miller missed five games with a concussion but has been a healthy scratch for the last two despite being cleared to play.
“I’ve just got to make sure when you do see him in the lineup, I need to know he’s 100 percent,” Julien explained Friday morning, via BostonBruins.com. “He’s been able to take some contact, here, and practice and stuff like that, but we always get the full OK when we tell the trainers that if he’s good to go, we’re planning on using him. Is he OK? When they tell us, that’s when we use him.”
Thumbnail photo via Candice Ward/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Boston Bruins goalie Jonas Gustavsson