From the way this game began, you'd think the rest of it came out of nowhere.
The first 20 minutes of game-time were effectively Boston and Florida trading great saves, and it seemed like from the onset it would be a goaltending showcase for both sides. Both getting great shots in and both goaltenders running the show and ignoring the idea that anybody could score ever in the first 20.
And then Tim Schaller at the end of the game decided he was tired of waiting around and swooped right in to take a David Krejci pass and put the Bruins up 1-0.
Boston was effectively running the show at this point, but what incredible work and passing by Krejci down low and man...Florida's defense needs work.
All things considered, Boston did everything they could in the second to increase their lead. Roberto Luongo is just a good player.
Unfortunately, the Bruins also were beginning to allow major zone time for Florida, and thus Jaromir Jagr was able to notch another goal in the massive chasming gap of defensive coverage.
Yeesh. Rough night for McQuaid and Krug.
Thankfully, Boston didn't buckle or even let up after this goal occured. They pounded and pounded and pounded away until the Bergeron line had themselves a major shift in which Marchand and Bergeron both combined for good passes that left Bruins' leading goal-scorer David Pastrnak wide open to pull the Bruins ahead. 2-1
We'll get to David Pastrnak's performance tonight, believe you me.
After this goal, it definitely felt the Panthers were backing off and making sure things didn't get worse, and their discipline faltered. The Bruins got a power play to end the period and spent most of it looking for that legendary insurance goal. They wouldn't find it in the middle frame, but surely the final frame has something to offer, right?
The Third Period, where everything went screwy.
Alright, so they entered the period up 2-1, and Florida clearly had a real motivational speech to give as they surged big time in trying to get shots on Tuukka Rask and take advantage of opportunities being made. One such opportunity is the rare moment in which Patrice Bergeron of all people has an off-moment. And Aleksander Barkov took full advantage of, ripping a shot right past Rask's ear. 2-2.
But hey, it's all good guys. It's all good, because the second line, after multiple shifts of being hemmed into their own end for the better part of 50 minutes, managed to get their act together with help of Ryan Spooner, creating a great opportunity in which Spoons takes a shot and David Backes tipped it in to give the Bruins the lead! 3-2.
Say what you will, if Backes gets this kind of shot support I will happily continue to support him. He does, however, have to look around while he's in a shoving match in front of the net...just one of those things a guy whose supposedly so good just doesn't do too well...
But hey, the Bruins are shutting the Panthers down defensively, they're keeping all shots to the outside, Rask is keeping the shots out, and-
...oh for fuck's sake. 3-3 from Jason Demers on one of the ultimate "fuck you, boards" bounces you could ask for. The Bruins and Panthers took their point, and decided to go to Overtime.
Pastrnak wins it in OT:
I know I try and weave some kind of tale for this but this was way too good to be true. two minutes through the overtime period the cycling of Boston effectively left Florida defending for their lives and appearing way too concerned defensively to attack the puck or try and get shots on goal, preferring to leave it up to Luongo. And then David Pastrnak turned on the jets, stick-handled his way through the entire Panthers defense, made Luongo bite, and score to win Boston the game in a 4-3 thriller. This was all one sequence, and it was just brilliant.
David Pastrnak got his first star and he absolutely deserved it. He was one of the most brilliant players on the ice as well as Brad Marchand, and both were able to make wonderful chance happen on the strength of Pastrnak's skill, speed, and fearless moveset against one of the premiere goaltenders of the NHL. David Pastrnak is not just a merely "good" prospect. He is an all-star caliber player who, if given the right amount of term, will make the Boston Bruins a force for years to come.
He is the future.
He is the bright young tomorrow.
He is #THELEGEND.
What. A. Game. Those two points were worth it.
- So that goaltending exhibition I thought this would be? Both goaltenders had around a .900 night. Thankfully Rask stayed above that number, however needless it might've been. Maybe it was an off-night, maybe it was a defensive blowup, this was an aberration on a player who was otherwise well-matched at the other end.
- The 4th line was absolutely a 4th line as Jimmy Hayes, Czarnik, and Blidh saw almost no ice-time in comparison to every other line.
- The second line has sort've been cobbled together all year but you could see flashes of offensive brilliance here and there. Tim Schaller especially had a pretty decent night, all things considered.
- Ryan Spooner played a monster game, and only till OT did he have the highest CF% on the team tonight, where he was lapped by Bergeron's late surge in OT.
- Your leaders in CF% tonight were Bergeron, Spooner, Marchand, Pastrnak, and Krug. Austin Czarnik technically has more than Pastrnak but he only played about 9 minutes. Still pretty good, though!
- Almost every goal Florida had on-hand were the result of the Krug/McQuaid pairing absolutely blowing it. A pairing that had the most amount of shifts between one pairing cannot play like they did. The worst part is that Krug would usually made up for it two shifts later by helping set up offense and having good possession numbers. I thought I might write something about Krug making McQuaid good but I think at this point the complete opposite is true. Krug isn't making McQuaid better, McQuaid is making Krug look worse.
- Brandon Carlo continues to be a fantastic addition that only gets better with time. Of course, I'm sure he's glad to have Chara back.
- There were moments where I genuinely forgot Kevan Miller or Colin Miller were on the ice, but hey. both were hovering close to at-or-above 50% in CF% and Colin Miller was once again while not an immediate scoring danger a big help in keeping zone time alive. I'm sure the goals will come.
Boston's next game is on Wednesday against Washington in DC. See you next time, and GO BRUINS!