By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
It took seven games — and it came even with a push that earned them a point — but the Boston Bruins are officially on their first losing streak of the 2018-19 season thanks to Thursday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers.
In Edmonton for the second leg of a back-to-back that began with a 5-2 loss in Calgary on Wednesday, not even a start by then-undefeated Jaroslav Halak could cure the Black and Gold’s sudden woes. Woes that over a 120-minute plus stretch have become headlined by almost any and every unfortunate bounce or turnover ending up in the back of the Boston net.
On the board first behind David Krejci’s first goal of the season, the first NHL goal from the Oilers’ Kailer Yamamoto came just 2:07 later, and helped the Oilers grab something out of a second period that was very much theirs for the taking.
Their luck continued on into the third period, as a Charlie McAvoy penalty put the star-studded Edmonton power play to work, where Connor McDavid used a friendly bounce off the boards to feed a waiting Ryan Nugent-Hopkins a puck (and open cage).
And Nugent-Hopkins, who at one point left the game but obviously returned, did not miss.
Boston’s superhuman first line, which created chances galore throughout the night, finally broke through by way of a David Pastrnak strike with just 8:34 remaining in regulation, though, which was enough for Halak and the Bruins to force overtime.
But sensing that they could get the Oilers backpedaling with Patrice Bergeron’s attempted sneak behind the Oilers, Brad Marchand went for a long distance pass that was picked off by Captain McDavid, and the Oilers were off to the races.
With the puck on his stick, McDavid easily blasted through Marchand, and in a two-on-one with Draisaitl, found the perfect seam to make McAvoy swim, and let Draisaitl beat Halak for the game-winning bullet just 37 seconds into the three-on-three overtime.
Awesome play from Connor McDavid to set up Leon Draisaitl in OT pic.twitter.com/FB6GG0rixL— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) October 19, 2018
“I thought we played well enough to win,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “You can talk about the circumstances; [Edmonton’s] home opener, they’re sitting here waiting for us. But at the end of the day, I thought we played well enough to win.”
The 33-year-old Halak surrendered three goals on 22 shots, but Cassidy was far from critical of his goaltender’s outing.
“He made some saves he had to,” Cassidy, who noted that he wished that McAvoy forced Halak to make the save by way of a shot from McDavid instead of play the pass to Draisaitl, offered. “He wasn’t that busy, but when he was, he made big saves.”
Cassidy’s club also dealt with some health issues, as Kevan Miller (upper-body) left the game due to a blocked shot up high, while David Backes missed the majority of the first period (but returned) after taking a big hit from Oiler d-man Matt Benning.
The Bruins will look to snap their minor skid Saturday night in Vancouver against the Canucks.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. He has also been a voting member of the Boston Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association since 2013. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.