The Bruins nearly pulled off an impressive comeback Thursday night, but fell short of their lofty goal.
The Chicago Blackhawks ultimately emerged victorious, topping Boston 4-3 just 54 seconds into overtime. The Bruins did manage to remain unbeaten in regulation at home thanks to three unanswered third-period goals.
It may look thrilling on paper, but things really weren’t clicking for the B’s through most of the contest. Despite outshooting the Hawks 40-31, Boston was 0-for-4 on the power play, while Chicago was 1-for-3.
Head coach Bruce Cassidy understandably was disappointed by the result, but didn’t think the night was a total loss.
“Obviously, in the first two periods, we didn’t do enough, particularly on the power play. It just wasn’t our night there, we weren’t executing well and got frustrated,” Cassidy said, as seen on NESN postgame coverage. “But we had some looks we didn’t finish off a couple of times — both (Brandon) Carlo and (Anders) Bjork had good looks, hammered the puck hard — but they’re off-net. So, we just stuck with it and eventually got to the front of the net. I think that was the game plan to start with, to get there … that’s where we feel we can take advantage of their back-end and eventually we got there.”
And considering the Bruins’ hot start to the 2019-20 season, Cassidy knows teams are coming to TD Garden with guns blazing. So coming out flat at home isn’t really an option for Boston at the moment.
“We had some breakdowns, and the first goal was kind of a gift — let’s face it,” he said. “We didn’t execute, we didn’t pick up on the way back, and their power play made a good play,” he said. “… I didn’t like our special teams. Typically a strength of ours, but there was some good five-on-five stuff throughout the game. But we’ll look at it a little closer tomorrow.”
There is a silver lining, however.
“At the end of the day, we got a point out of it when we didn’t look like we’d get it,” Cassidy said.
Here are some more notes from Thursday’s Bruins-Blackhawks game:
— Chris Wagner came in clutch for the B’s in the third period.
The winger scored the game-tying goal with just 4:59 in the game. The Bruins were shorthanded at the time, making the moment that much sweeter.
This isn’t the first time the Bruins have come back in the third period this season, nor will it be the last. All Wagner knows is it can’t become a pattern, although the B’s already have proven they can pull off a comeback.
“I mean, it’s clear we’ve got pretty good resilience,” he said. “Like we say every game, we don’t want to put ourselves in the 3-0 hole or 2-0 hole. But I thought we played alright … (we) weren’t getting bounces, they capitalized on some chances, and that’s how you end up in a 3-0 hole.”
— John Moore got feisty with Zach Smith in the defenseman’s first game back with the Bruins.
Moore dropped gloves with Smith after watching the center leave his feet and slam David Pastrnak into the boards. He quickly hit the ice, and was handed his first fighting major of the season as a result. But Moore wasn’t about to let the questionable hit go unrecognized.
“I didn’t like the hit and I saw it and thought it had to be addressed,” Moore said. “You know, maybe in my first game after shoulder surgery, it’s not the best time (to fight). But, you know, that’s just the way I am. I felt like it needed to be addressed there.”
Cassidy liked Moore’s response, despite it being his first game since June.
“We’re going to try and do our best to try and protect (Pastrnak),” he said. “Once the puck’s dropped, David knows he’s a marked man in terms of they’re going to check him hard. We’ll have to address it internally if we feel they’re crossing a line, and clearly Johnny Moore felt that way. Unfortunately, he’s probably not the best guy (to fight) coming off a shoulder surgery, and it showed. But great for him to stick up (for Pastrnak), it’s just a reaction play.”
— Jonathan Toews managed to do what few Blackhawks have done before Thursday night.
The center is just the fourth player in franchise history to score an overtime goal in Boston during the regular season.
The last person to do it? Red Hamil on Feb. 3, 1942. (That’s 77 years.)
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 6, 2019
Toews also set a franchise record for most regular-season overtime goals with the 14th of his career. He’s now tied for 10th place in NHL history, as well, per NHL PR.
Jonathan Toews of the @NHLBlackhawks scored his franchise-record 14th career regular-season overtime goal to move into a tie for 10th place on the NHL’s all-time list. https://t.co/wN52nCfAL9 #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/oxExVtREGf
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 6, 2019
— The Bruins have a chance to bounce back when they welcome former UMass star Cale Makar and the Colorado Avalanche to town for the final game of Boston’s five-game homestand. Puck drop from TD Garden is slated for 7 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images