As always, Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy didn’t pull any punches when facing the media after his team blew a 3-0 lead in the second period, trailed 4-3 heading into the third period and still gutted out a 6-4 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins for their sixth-straight win.
“Maybe we need to be kicked in the ass a little,” Cassidy cracked to the media following what could be one of those moments a team looks back on and knows when they proved their street cred.
Jake DeBrusk and Brad Marchand gave the Bruins a 2-0 lead headed into the second period and the leading score in the NHL David Pastrnak made it 3-0 4:22 into the middle frame. Then the roof gave in for one of the hottest teams in the NHL as the Penguins tilted the ice so much the Bruins seemed to be frozen underneath.
Dominik Kahun, Nick Bjugstad, Bryan Rust lit the lamp consecutively and then North Easton, Massachusetts native John Marino, in his first NHL game in Boston, scored his first NHL goal to give the Penguins a 4-3 lead headed to the third period.
Instead of breaking as their football brethren, the then-unbeaten New England Patriots did against the Baltimore Ravens in the first loss of their season Sunday night, the Bruins bent but didn’t break Monday thanks to a 40-save performance from goaltender Jaro Halak and sticking to their system. Torey Krug tied the game at 8:14 of the third period and then Marchand scored the game-winner with 1:57 left in regulation. Fellow ‘Perfection Line’ member Patrice Bergeron added an empty-netter with 14 seconds left to cement the win.
“In the third, we don’t have those long change situations, for one. Secondly, I thought we just defended a little better after they had a few chances there, I think,” Cassidy said of the turnaround in the final frame. “Then we started playing, had the puck a little more, made a few plays. We’re fortunate, very fortunate we capitalized on most of our opportunities and got key saves at the other end. Our goaltender outplayed theirs, and that ends up probably being the difference in the game.”
Pastrnak, Marchand Keep Streaking!
The Bruins top line of Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Pastrnak isn’t just renting space the scoresheet, they basically own some now. The best line in the NHL kept their respective streaks going and have now factored into the scoring for every game except the season opener at Dallas.
Marchand’s five-point night extended his career-best point streak to 13 games. He has ten goals and 18 assists during that span and has at least one assist in each of his last 12 games. The game-winner Monday was his third of the season. While that was what most may remember about this game, Marchand’s assist on Krug’s game-tying goal may have been his highlight of the night. Marchand put on a Pavel Datsyuk dangling clinic just inside the blue line before feeding the puck to Krug and left the Penguins wondering what happened?
What a bullet from Torey Krug. 4-4 game. pic.twitter.com/tQakBMtiQl
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) November 5, 2019
Meanwhile, with a goal and an assist, Pastrnak extended his point streak to 12 games. He has 14 goals and 15 assists and has now tied his career-best of 12 games when he had five goals and nine assists in a 12-game streak from November 22-December 18 of 2017. Pastrnak leads the league in goals and points. His 27 points are the third-most by a Bruins player through the team’s first 13 games in a season behind only Phil Esposito in 1973-74 (31) and Bobby Orr in 1974-75 (28).
While Marchand and Pastrnak kept streaking, let’s not forget their center as Bergeron found his way into the scoresheet with the empty-netter to seal the game. Bergeron has now registered a point in four straight games with five goals and two assists during that span.
Pens Get Halaked
Make no mistake, the Bruins don’t sniff a point in this game without the play of Halak. His 40-save performance was his best this season and there were so many that gave his team a chance to win but the second period was by far one of the best goaltending performances this season despite him allowing four goals. Halak stopped 17 of 21 Penguins shots and if not for him, the Bruins would never have had the chance to stage a rally in the third.
Second Period Blues – Even as the Bruins went 3-1-0 on their season-opening roadie out west, the Bruins were brutal in the second period and they acknowledged it every time. Since then, they’ve tightened up in the middle frame and haven’t pulled the foot off the peddle much. Well, on Monday that changed as the maybe a bit overconfident Bruins, decided it would be OK to put it in cruise control after Pastrnak gave them a 3-0 lead 4:22 into the second period.
The Penguins who were already dominating through the first four minutes before Pastrnak’s goal kept their foot on the pedal and scored four straight goals to turn a 0-3 deficit into a 4-3 lead headed into the third period. The Pens outshot the Bruins 21-6 in the second period and absolutely owned the Bruins every inch of play.
John Marino scores a fourth straight goal for the Penguins. Jaroslav Halak is mad. pic.twitter.com/ZgRF2ybOL3
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) November 5, 2019
“That was easily our worst period of the year top to bottom,” DeBrusk said. “Thanks to Jaro we were able to stay in it and got it done but we know we need to work on that.”
McAvoy, Krug Leave Game Late In Third
Charlie McAvoy and Krug both left the game in the last seven minutes of regulation. Krug took a skate off the face but thankfully was OK and McAvoy had a scary collision into the Bruins goal post as he tried to break up a Bryan Rust scoring chance that Halak did save. McAvoy was bleeding bad as he left the ice but both were expected to be OK after the game.
“I don’t believe there’s anything more (than a cut),” Cassidy said after the game. “The first thing you’re worried about is a concussion, obviously. But I think it was just a cut. … I’m gonna assume that’s the worst of the damage.”
Not good. McAvoy tries to break up a shorthanded chance, and hits his head off the post.
He skated off his own, but went right down the tunnel. pic.twitter.com/mFBFL2mMyw
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) November 5, 2019