BOSTON — There was a common theme in the Boston Bruins locker room after their 4-3 shootout loss to the Vegas Golden Knights.
They didn’t start on time.
Boston’s 14-game win streak on TD Garden ice came to an end Monday night at the hands of their ex-head coach. The Bruins didn’t start the game on time in the least, falling behind 3-0 before they knew it. Between the undisciplined hockey, one-too-many passes and poor decision making, it felt the B’s were out of this one quickly.
But things changed when Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak made it a one-goal game in the second period before Taylor Hall tied it on a second effort on the power play in the third. Exhaustion had set in, though, and the Bruins just couldn’t put the game-winner past Golden Knights goalie Logan Thompson.
“This is a great group of players to coach. They never quit, they never stop believing,” head coach Jim Montgomery said. “Down 3-0, we didn’t start on time, that’s unfortunate. We got beat through the middle of the ice too often (Monday), that usually doesn’t happen to us. It kind of reminded me of the game in Ottawa, but this time we found a way to get back in the game and get a point. Their goalie played really well, especially in the second and third period. It’s unfortunate the streak came to an end. We all knew it was gonna come to an end at some point.”
Marchand, who got the scoring started for the Bruins, said while it was nice to bounce back from a 3-0 deficit, not starting on time is what hurt the Black and Gold against a team they knew would be ready for them.
“We can come back in any situation. Even when we got down three we hadn’t played good yet and still a lot of time left in the game,” Marchand said. “It was more frustrating that we let ourselves get in that position. We know they’re a good team and they play hard. They’re an older group, they have a lot of experience so we knew they’d be ready, and we didn’t start on time. It’s nice that we battled back but we needed a better start.”
Hall admitted the Bruins were exhausted from trying to battle back.
“I think we believed no matter what the score was but they’re a good hockey team,” Hall said. “They made it hard on us in the first period. We didn’t start on time so that’s what can happen against good teams. A good team that was obviously motivated.
“It’s great that we battled back but it’s a tough way to see the streak end.”
Here are some other notes from Monday’s Bruins-Golden Knights game
Cassidy was relieved of his head coaching duties in June after being Boston’s bench boss since 2017. He led the Bruins to the playoffs in every season he was the head coach. During a TV timeout the TD Garden showed a video tribute, which included highlights of Cassidy’s time in Boston, before showing Cassidy on the bench. He acknowledged the crowd giving them a wave and was a bit emotional in doing so.
“That’s something I’ll get choked up about, probably in about three seconds,” Cassidy told reporters after the game. “I appreciate it. It’s that simple. I appreciate it. I did what I could here to help the team win. Now it’s on to Vegas.”
— David Pastrnak cannot stop scoring.
The forward potted his 17th goal of the season with 24 seconds left in the second period which appeared to give Boston life and woke up the TD Garden crowd. It unfortunately just wasn’t enough.
— Jeremy Swayman gave up a goal on the first shot of the game to Paul Cotter, who was centering the top line for Vegas in place of the injured Jack Eichel. Things looked grim when it was 3-0 in favor of the visitors, and it was fair to wonder whether Montgomery was going to pull Swayman in favor of Linus Ullmark. but the B’s head coach made sure to keep Swayman in there to try to find some momentum.
“I think it’s really important. The most important thing is he was playing sound goaltending,” Montgomery said. “The breakaways and the two-on-one’s, they make really good plays and really good shots. I like his mental fortitude of being able to shut the door down and give us an opportunity to get a point.”
— The Bruins now head out west for a three-game road trip beginning Wednesday night in Colorado against the Avalanche, a team they had their way with Dec. 3 in a 5-1 drubbing. Puck drop from Ball Arena is set for 9 p.m. ET on NESN.