On another night when the Boston Bruins were skating in quicksand for the first 30 minutes of a game, they once again found ways to win and beat their arch rivals, the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 at TD Garden Sunday night.
The usual suspects like sniper David Pastrnak – who scored his league-leading 25th goal 6:16 into the third period – and goalie Tuukka Rask (28 saves), helped the Bruins start a third period comeback that saw them score three unanswered goals. The game-winning goal though came from a player that hadn’t played since November 2 and who only a few weeks ago, wondered if his NHL career was over thanks to another concussion.
With the Bruins on the power play midway through the third period only a few minutes after Pastrnak tied the game at one apiece, forward David Backes beat Canadiens goalie Carey Price for his first goal of the season to put the Bruins ahead 2-1. Just 2:58 later, forward Jake DeBrusk scored his sixth of the season and that’s all the Bruins would need to complete another comeback win, their fifth in their last six games.
Rask Save Paved Way For Comeback
With the Habs up 1-0 just under three minutes into the third period, Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher broke in alone on Rask with a chance to put his team up 2-0 on what to that point, had been a rather listless Bruins squad. Rask stoned Gallagher and just over three minutes later, Pastrnak tied the game. The Bruins never looked back and scored two more on embattled Habs goalie Carey Price for the 3-1 win.
“I just try and keep us in it and if there’s breakdowns, try to make that save,” Rask said after the game. “We’re down a goal and you don’t want to make it a two-goal deficit. I think lately, we’ve kind of recognized that we have to pick it up a notch and try and not go out of our way to create chances but I tried to push the pace a little bit and we did that again and it paid off.”
Rask went on in more depth about the save.
“It’s just one of those like. …little bit sluggish for a couple of seconds and then it’s a breakaway, luckily they didn’t score,” Rask said. “Obviously I think we recognize those kind of situations that when there’s a breakdown happening and then we don’t give up that goal, we kind of realize that ‘Hey we dodged a bullet there so we have to pick it up’. It’s one of those where we’re a team and we have to pick each other up and make the next play.”
Backes credited Rask for jumpstrting the comeback and also praised him and Jaro Halak for always giving the Bruins a chance to win.
‘It was equally as big,” Backes said of the Rask save on Gallagher. “One of their top line guys that scores a lot of goals for them, has a breakaway, and Tuukka, along with Jaro, have been right on the task for us, having those big saves when we need it, giving us another chance to have another wave or a push to get back into the game or try and get a lead and that’s a great example that’s glaring of what those guys do for us
Backes Scored ‘Really Cool’ Gamewinner
In his first game back since November 2, Backes scored his first goal of the season and not will be a memorable goal because it was the game-winner but also because of how much the oft-concussed winger went through to get cleared to play.
“Scoring a goal in the NHL is cool,” Backes said. “To have some adversity to fight through it; to put hard work into, to be back in the lineup and have that opportunity, and to make good on it, is really cool! To have that micro-storyline to say ‘Two weeks ago I wasn’t even skating and didn’t really know if I was done for my career and to go through the steps I went through to get a clean bill of health and to press back to play and have that moment, it was special.”
25 In 27 For ‘Pasta’
Backes probably put it best when describing the zone that Pastrnak is in right now:
“He’s playing a video game out there,” Backes cracked. “I don’t know what’s wrong with that guy.”
Backes went on to express his awe at what his teammate has been doing thus far to get to the 25-game plateau in just 27 games.
“It’s so impressive to see that he’s down the wing full speed, putting it where he wants to,” Backes said of Pastrnak. “Winding up and off the post and in. … I don’t have words. You just sit there and it’s cool to watch.”
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) December 2, 2019