It’s an important trait for any team with championship aspirations to show the ability to come back from deficits and handle adversity head on, and that’s something the Boston Bruins are already proving just a couple of weeks into the season.
The Bruins did it in their home opener when they potted four third period goals to erase a two-goal deficit against the Flyers in an eventual shootout win, and they did it on Saturday night after digging a 3-0 hole for themselves against the Washington Capitals. A Nick Ritchie power play at the end of the third period got them to within two goals and then a pair of third period strikes – including a wild scramble for the game-tying score with Tuukka Rask pulled – got them to overtime before falling 4-3 to Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals.
Sure, it was a bitter pill to lose the game, but there was some level of Boston Bruins pride in merely getting it to overtime in the first place against a Washington team that seems to always have their number.
“We shouldn’t have lost this game. But we’re not going to hang our heads by any means. We did a great job coming back,” said Brad Marchand. “We just have to keep building on that. If we play like we did tonight we’re going to win a lot more than we’re going to lose”
Given that the Bruins were down 3-0 while vastly outshooting Washington (43-to-23 in shots on net) and given that Tuukka Rask didn’t have a very strong night for the Boston Bruins, it might have been easy for the B’s to pack it in midway through the game. Some hockey clubs would simply decide it wasn’t their night and punt away the possible points in an East Division where seemingly every other game is going to overtime/shootouts.
That kind of approach clearly isn’t going to cut it in an East Division where only four teams are going to qualify for the postseason.
The Bruins showed there aren’t going to be any easy outs against them in the early going, and they have the OT point to show for it after climbing out of the three-goal hole. The loss puts them in third place in the East Division behind the Capitals and a Flyers team that’s won three games in a row, but accumulating points is the name of the game this time of year.
“We match up well with them. They’re a great team and obviously so are we,” said Charlie McAvoy, who scored the game-tying goal to send it to overtime with 58 seconds remaining in the third period. “I think our group responded well to the adversity we had two periods into that game. From that standpoint it was a fun challenge and exciting in our room to get a point out of that one.
“It’s something that’s been in our game for a while dating back to the time that I’ve been here. I know every season is a new season, but it starts with our leadership, Bergie and Marchy and those guys. We keep up the positivity on the bench and nobody gets discouraged realizing that we have the ability to come back in any game. It was about all four lines and three D-pairings scratching back to get into that game.”
The Bruins will have another crack at the Capitals on Monday night with David Pastrnak perhaps a little more comfortable after getting a game under his belt. But no matter what happens early on in the game, the Bruins know they have the firepower, character and willingness to come back against anybody at anytime this season.
That kind of proven quality will take them a long way in an East Division where it felts like there’s going to be a lot of overtimes and shootouts this season with tons of points on the line.