By Committee, Bruins Rally to Earn Point in St. Louis
ST. LOUIS, MO - The Bruins only have one regulation loss in their past 10 games.
On Thursday night, they found themselves down 2-0 heading to the third period against the Blues at Scottrade Center. The Black & Gold fought back to force overtime - and earn a point.
The end result wasn't ideal, especially given their effort for 60-plus minutes, but the Bruins could leave this one knowing they gave themselves an opportunity to pick up their eight win in their past 10 games.
In the end, they'll find some satisfaction in it.
"We knew that if we kept going, and we got one by him, we were going to get two," said Brad Marchand, who roofed a rebound from a Johnny Boychuk drive past Jaroslav Halak to force overtime with 8:36 left in the third period. "And luckily, Dave got that first one, and we were able to get another one, and it was a big point for our team."
Despite outshooting the Blues 24-18 through two periods, the Bruins found themselves trailing 1-0 after the first, and faced a two-goal deficit en route to the final frame.
But the frustration wasn't setting in, and at the 9:16 mark of the third, David Krejci ripped a shot from the high slot to get Boston on the board. After crisscrossing with Jarome Iginla up top, Krejci timed his shot perfectly with Milan Lucic's screen.
"We talked about between the periods, that all we needed was one goal to get us going here and [Halak] made some really good saves in the second period to keep them into that 2-0 lead, but we knew our chances were there," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien following the game.
"It was a matter of at least getting one in, and hopefully the rest would come, and we managed to score a couple, and even in overtime there, Iggy had a great chance there to seal the deal for us."
The Bruins outchanced the Blues in the extra time, going once again, with three forwards and one defender to push the pace.
The best opportunity came with Iginla on the doorstep, but the stick of Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo saved the goal, and the game.
At the other end, as the Bruins started a breakout behind the goal, the puck bounced out with T.J. Oshie quickly finding it, and somehow punching it through Tuukka Rask.
"So you get the bounce that goes against you," said Julien. "It's hockey, and to me, it's great to see our guys compete the way we did, with all of the guys missing on the back end. Our guys back there did a great job."
Boston's blueline was without the size and toughness of Captain Zdeno Chara, in Sochi to carry Slovakia's flag in the Olympic Opening Ceremony. It has also been without Adam McQuaid for 12 games, and Dennis Seidenberg (out for the season) for 25 games.
David Warsofsky, with now five games of NHL experience, slotted into the lineup, and was mostly paired with Kevan Miller. The Bruins went with Johnny Boychuk and Torey Krug as a pairing, along with Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton.
They did the job without Chara, and did it well.
"To me, I'm proud of the way we played, like the whole team, from the first line to the fourth line, all of our Ds were really good," said Julien, who stressed that their team game leads the way, with or without Chara.
"You know, even though we were down 2-0 after two periods, I still thought our team was playing extremely well and probably deserved better, and then we got ourselves back into the game there in the third. Unfortunate bounce to lose that game in overtime but still, again, a great effort from our team."
With Chara usually averaging close to 25 minutes a game, Julien hadn't planned to have the extra minutes fall to the current most veteran defender in Boychuk. It would be by committee.
"We were just kind of rolling our lines and everyone was into it, and we did well. We didn't really give up much," said Hamilton, who clocked in the second most ice time on the team with 22:10.
Bartkowski led the way with 23:20 in ice time. Warsofsky played 17:58, the second most ice time of his career. He logged 18:23, with Chara injured, in Ottawa back on December 28.
Krug put up 20:03, with 5:07 of power-play time, and Boychuk was utilized for 19:45.
"I thought that we played pretty well throughout the game, especially with Zee out," said Boychuk. "The young guys stepped up and played extremely well the whole game. The score didn't really tell the tale, I thought we should have won, but sometimes you get the bounces."
"But the D played extremely well for having our team leader gone."
"We battled hard. I thought we played a solid game, and we probably deserved more," said Rask, who made 24 saves, and as usual, placed some blame on himself, though his teammates would say otherwise. "But a point on the road against a good team's always good, have to be satisfied with that. We had a chance to get more, but one point's good."
The Bruins have now earned 16 of a possible 20 points in their past 10 games, with a 7-1-2 record. With only one game remaining against Ottawa on Saturday, they've already accomplished their strong push to the Olympic Break.
In the locker room afterwards, the Bruins weren't resting on the lost point, but rather, their ability to, once again, show their fight.
"We just seem to get the confidence where we know we're going to get another one and we're not going to be denied," said Marchand, of the team-wide belief. "We wanted to stick with it, and we knew if we got one, we'd have a good shot at getting another one. And it worked well, but a disappointing finish."
Disappointing, but not disheartening.
"We just talked about the things we needed to do, focus on getting one, and two, and that's what we did," said Matt Bartkowski.
"Gave ourselves a chance to win."