By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
If the Boston Bruins are going to survive these next four weeks without their No. 1 center and No. 1 defenseman available, there’s no denying they’ll need plenty of unlikely heroes to play their part along the way.
On Friday, Joakim Nordstrom did exactly that, as he scored the overtime goal in a 2-1 comeback win over the Penguins.
“Did I think he’d score the winner? No, but hey it worked out that way and good for him,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said after the victory, which extended the team’s point streak to four games. “[Nordstrom]’s a pretty responsible player in all situations, does a lot of penalty killing for us, hasn’t seen the power play, so it’s nice when a guy like that gets rewarded.”
Nordy sending the Garden faithful home happy ???? pic.twitter.com/AQacrhcnZr— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) November 24, 2018
“I think we’ve fought hard these few games here before and we weren’t able to get the extra point,” Nordstrom offered. “We have had some discussions about it before this game and we are all happy that it ended this way.”
The path to the extra point required yet another grind-it-out performance from a Boston roster still trying to find their groove.
The Penguins opened up the game’s scoring in the second period behind an Evgeni Malkin one-time bomb that Bruins netminder Jaroslav Halak had absolutely no chance of stopping, and the Bruins countered with a little one-time magic of their own, as Jake DeBrusk potted his ninth goal of the season just 7:31 later off a drop-back pass from David Krejci.
The play of Halak was obviously noteworthy, too, as he kept this game knotted up with a big save on a Zach Aston-Reese chance in the third period, and started his overtime by denying Sidney Crosby’s quick release before the Bruins collected themselves, maintained possession, and ultimately scored the game-winning goal on Tristan Jarry.
By the night’s end, Halak earned the victory behind a 36-of-37 performance in net.
“When you have good goaltending in this game, it’s kind of the x-factor,” Bruins forward David Backes said. “Anything is possible.”
Elsewhere on the Boston roster, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson was given a promotion to the first line between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, and went against NHL superstar Sidney Crosby throughout much of the night. And while Forsbacka Karlsson was beat up at the faceoff dot (he won just five of his 20 faceoffs, and went 3-for-15 against Crosby in total), the 21-year-old Forsbacka Karlsson seemed to hold his own, and enjoyed the challenge of going against one of the game’s premier talents.
“I think it’s a pretty cool moment looking back at it – taking a draw against [Sidney] Crosby, absolutely,” said ‘JFK.’
John Moore, meanwhile, made his return to the Boston blue line after missing the previous three games with a lower-body injury. Moore finished the game with three blocked shots, and his 25:57 of time on ice was the second most among all B’s.
Moore also got the start in overtime, as Cassidy continued to tinker with his optimal lines and give opportunities to different players, providing a slight change to a three-on-three that’s almost always started with Torey Krug on the backend.
The Bruins will have a quick turnaround and head to Montreal for a Saturday night meeting with the Canadiens. The Habs won their only prior 2018-19 meeting by a 3-0 final at TD Garden back on Oct. 27.
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.