If for no other reason than to provide a false sense of security, Roman Polak interfered with Brad Marchand very early in the frame... only to see Dallas tally a shorthanded goal. LAAAME.
Fortunately, before the Bruins’ power play had ended, we’d see another low-circle tally from His Carbiness the David of Pastrnak, keeping the Bruins from remaining in the hole for too long. 1-1 game.
In an effort to support the rumor that they are actually employed by the Bruins, the fourth line of Chris Wagner, Sean Kuraly and Noel Acciari began to hit. And hit. And hit. Wagner registered at least two solid slams on one shift in an attempt to set some sort of tone.
An unusual, though not impossible, sight: the B’s top line of Marchand, David Pastrnak, and Patrice Bergeron having little to show for their even-strength effort. Yeah, Pasta scored on the power play, and that’s important. 63-37-88 had just two shots among them through twenty minutes. Joakim Nordstrom had just as many.
Really not much to tell about this one. The speed of the game increased, as both teams wanted to score the next goal.
Most memorable were the standing ovations from the Garden Faithful for the different branches of military represented in the stands. Most impressive was the visit by Sidney Walton, a World War II veteran making a tour of the entire country. Check him out here.
Back to your regularly scheduled programming. Things would get a bit more interesting towards the end of the period as Anders Bjork had a goal disallowed because the referees lost track of the puck and blew play dead while the puck was feet - FEET - from Stars goalie Anton Khudobin.
Moments later Marchand would almost tuck home another nifty forehand wraparound, but couldn’t keep it in control. Aggressive play would finish the period as the frustration of both teams became more visible.
Play was a bit more measured to start the third, to nobody’s surprise; and, the Bruins nearly connected before Joakim Nordstrom’s shot connected with the side of Roman Polak’s head as he slid to block the shot. He’d head down the tunnel for a bit. Bergeron had a low-slot shot trickle through Khudobin and just wide, and Chara followed that up with a bomb that likely would have seared through flesh had it hit anybody. (Several people got out of the way.)
Bergeron would also take exception with the refs putting their whistles in their pockets to start the period. There were several offenses - by both teams, mind you - that likely should have earned a whistle, but Bergie was visibly upset at not getting a tripping call in his favor.
And when you thought that’s how the period would go, Torey Krug would get called for a boarding penalty with about nine minutes to go in the third period a tied game. It looked a little messy and perhaps Krug should have avoided all contact, but there was little to indicate that the entire thing was avoidable. Boston would kill the penalty with some timely saves from Rask, and the lack of whistles would resume.
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy would lead with his obvious choice for an OT trio - Marchand, Bergeron, and Krug - before putting out Moore, Pastrnak and Nordstrom. OT rolled along with a few decent if not stellar chances before the referees decided egregious penalties in OT were worth it. Dallas suffered back-to-back calls against with under two minutes to go, putting Boston on a 5v3 advantage and all but guaranteeing a win. Brad Marchand didn’t disappoint, tallying the winning goal with thirty seconds remaining in the thing most closely resembling real hockey.
- Credit to Tuukka Rask in having a bounce-back game. We’ll see just how high he bounces over the weekend, but that’s a good game to win for his confidence. As he said after the game: ”The schedule hasn’t been crazy and Jaro [Halak] has played unbelievable, that’s how it goes. If you’re a hot goalie like that then you got to let him play, I totally get it, it hasn’t affected me mentally really that much. You just try to practice hard and feel that rhythm and feel the puck in practices, when you’re playing try to put your best out there and get the wins.”
- While Krug and Grzelcyk are back, the B’s defense is still missing a big piece in Charlie McAvoy, which ended up forcing the V's coach to be creative with his defensive pairings. Also Cassidy: “Yeah, Grizz [Matt Grzelcyk] and [Steven] Kampfer, you know they’re both smaller guys, you have to be careful who they get matched up with. We went into it knowing we’d play our top four that we’ve been playing recently – [Brandon] Carlo, Zee [Zdeno Chara] and then [Torey] Krug and [John] Moore – and then we’d mix in those two.”
- Speaking of being creative with lines, it was hard to tell which coach was effectively shuffling his forwards. Granted, late in a period Dallas is basically required by law to run Jamie Benn-Tyler Seguin-Jason Spezza, but the way the Bruins’ first line was playing, they weren’t going to get any different assignments for offense. Cassidy more or less stuck with his arrangement from the start.
- To talk for a moment about individual players, DeBrusk is still more often than not the young player that impresses on a week-to-week basis. He may not put one in every game, but he’s still using the rest of his toolset to be hard on the forecheck and challenging players for every puck. This is less true for others in the lineup.