The Boston Bruins didn’t get the full two points after Saturday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals, but after facing a three-goal deficit midway through the second period, many were happy with the resiliency showed.
… And the one point that came with forcing overtime in the final minute of regulation was a solid return, as well.
“I thought our group responded well to the adversity that we had two periods into that game. So from that stand point, it was a fun challenge and exciting in our room to come back and get a point out of that one,” Bruins’ top-line defenseman Charlie McAvoy told reporters after the game.
“I think that’s something that’s been in our game for a while,” McAvoy added. “Dating back to the time that I’ve been here and the couple years it’s been, I know every season is a new season, but I really think that starts with the leadership with (Patrice Bergeron) and (Brad Marchand) and those guys who are coming over and keeping the positivity up on the bench and making sure nobody is discouraged and knowing we have a chance to come back in any game.”
McAvoy was crucial during the third-period comeback, too.
The 23-year-old scored the game-tying goal at 19:02 in the third period to send the game to overtime tied 3-all. It was his first goal of the season.
McAvoy, though, also set up a perfectly-placed wrist shot by Marchand six minutes into the third, which at the time cut the B’s deficit to 3-2.
Marchand explained the key to getting back in the game.
“We’ve always been a resilient team,” Marchand told reporters. “We knew we weren?t going to quit. It really just takes that first one. You get a little bit of confidence from that and you keep building. Teams tend to sit back once they get a few goal lead, and we just kept pushing.
“I think the biggest thing was that we were winning battles and funneling everything through to the net,” he continued. “Later in the game we started trying to do too much at times, weren?t winning as many battles, but when we started to just funnel and kind of get there, we had a lot of opportunities. We easily could’ve won that game.”
Head coach Bruce Cassidy agreed.
“Yeah, I thought we were the better team to be honest with you, if you look at the overall game,” Cassidy told reporters. “… At the end of the day, we battled back. I’m looking at it as a positive. There’s a lot of things I like about that game.”
Here are some other notes from Bruins-Capitals:
— Part of the reason the Bruins may have deserved better was due to their clear advantage on the stat sheet. Boston outshot Washington 43-23 in the contest.
Cassidy was happy to see the B’s getting pucks on net, though he noted how there were one or two opportunities where they didn’t put them on frame and should have.
“… All in all that’s a lot of shot attempts, and I don?t think it was power-play driven. Certainly that helped us, we had more than them, earned more than them, more calls. That will contribute a bit to it, but at the end of the day, I thought we were trying to get inside, get to the net,” Cassidy said. “It’s been a focus of ours, so one thing at a time. Let’s get the attempts, let’s get pucks through there, get second-effort goals and then we?ll start kind of pick apart when we should be shooting and not shooting or what particular angle. It’s more about focus on hitting the net? So, all in all, I thought it was a good offensive night for us.”
— David Pastrnak made his return to the Bruins lineup Saturday after missing the first seven games this season. Pastrnak, as you may recall, underwent offseason surgery on his hip. He was expected to be held out until mid-February, but made his return a few weeks ahead of schedule.
The top-line winger played 20:29 and contributed one assist with five shots. Pastrnak competed hard, and it certainly was a good starting point for the All-Star forward.
— Saturday’s game was also the first time the Bruins went against former Boston captain Zdeno Chara in a Capitals uniform. Chara, who signed with Washington this offseason, played 20:54 in the contest.
Both Marchand and McAvoy, however, explained how they weren’t able to talk much with Chara, but hope to at some point. Marchand, specifically, noted with the league’s COVID-19 protocols, it makes the opportunity to get together more challenging.
— Boston has now scored power-play goals in five straight games with Nick Ritchie (four this season) taking the honors against the Capitals.
— The Bruins will return to the ice at Capital One Center in Washington on Monday for the second game against the Caps in three nights.