The Boston Bruins almost pulled off another comeback win as they erased a 3-0 third period deficit to the Chicago Blackhawks but fell just short, losing 4-3 in overtime Thursday night at TD Garden. The fact the Bruins still extended their point streak to 13 games and still have not lost in regulation at home was not the main topic amongst Bruins players postgame though. Instead it was the fact that in his first game back from offseason shoulder surgery, defenseman John Moore came to the defense of his teammate and the NHL’s leading goal scorer David Pastrnak after Pastrnak took a questionable hit from Blackhawks forward Zack Smith.
With 8:14 left in regulation, Smith lined Pastrnak up and followed through on a monstrous hit in which he left his feet and hit Pastrnak a good few seconds after the Bruins winger didn’t have the puck. Moore went after Smith and fought him, and while he lost and hurt his surgically repaired shoulder on the process, he earned even more respect in a dressing room that already loved him.
“That’s the type of culture we have here and Mooresey wants to be a part of it,” said defenseman Torey Krug. “From day one he’s taking everything from what being a Boston Bruin is about in full swing and that’s what you saw. He’s an unbelievable teammate and obviously a great job by him stepping up.”
As for the teammate Moore stood up for, Pastrnak was clearly moved and grateful but also worried for Moore given everything he’s been through to come back and play for the first time since the Stanley Cup Final last June.
“Yeah I don’t know what to say,” Pastrnak said. “Hopefully he’s alright and it’s so good to have him back. He’s such a nice guy to be around and we all love him. Obviously I give him the tap and know that he come for me but obviously I’d rather he not, at the point he just got back, but it’s good to have him back.”
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy wasn’t surprised by Moore dropping the gloves for a teammate even if he hadn’t played for six months. Like Krug pointed out, it’s just a reflection of the bond this Bruins team has.
“You can’t say enough about him, right?” Cassidy said. “Here he is, coming off of shoulder surgery and obviously it’s a reaction thing. He’s not thinking about anything other than protecting his teammates. So that just tells you all you need to know about his character. Probably not the perfect guy in that situation coming off that injury, but good for him. He’ll earn a lot of respect in that locker room that he already had but now even more.”
As for Moore, he was just doing what any good teammate would do.
“I dint know if it was the smartest decision my first game back but I saw someone kind of take a liberty on ‘Pasta’ and felt like it was my responsibility and my turn,” Moore explained. “It was my turn there, I saw someone taking liberties and felt like something had to be done and I just stepped in and did something.”