By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Down by three in the third period, the Boston Bruins made their best comeback of the year on Thursday night, but were unable to seal the deal, as Jonathan Toews downed the B's with the game-deciding overtime goal in a 4-3 final at TD Garden.
This one followed a similar script, too, as the Blackhawks struck with a pair of first-period goals in just 37 seconds thanks to a Ryan Carpenter shorthanded strike and a Dylan Strome power-play marker, scored with under two minutes remaining in the first period.
Held off the board despite 22 shots on the Blackhawks' Robin Lehner through the first 40 minutes of action, the Black and Gold deficit was extended to three when Alex DeBrincat took advantage of some missed coverage to rip home his sixth goal of the year just 17 seconds into the third period.
But Joakim Nordstrom began the B's comeback just 1:32 later, Chris Wagner capitalized on a shorthanded chance with 4:59 remaining in the third period, and Torey Krug activated and beat Lehner upstairs with just 2:33 left in regulation to force overtime and extended the team's point streak to 13 games.
Not that the Bruins were going to be displeased with the effort -- the Bruins climbed out of a three-goal hole and outshot the 'Hawks by an 18-10 mark in the final frame -- but it continued a frustrating trend of late where the B's are forced to play catch-up and do all of their damage in the third period.
"We’ve been addressing that for a month now, to be honest with you," Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said of the team's sluggish starts. "When we do video, we’re talking about cleaning up our game. I’ve said it, and I’ll say it again tonight: We’re not at 60 minutes. Our guys know that. We talk to them. Complacency? I would say no. Lack of urgency some nights? I would say yes. We’re not pushing as hard as we need to to get to our level."
And in the overtime frame, the search for that level came to a crashing end when David Pastrnak got tripped up and lost control of the puck, which sent Toews in on a breakaway and five-hole goal through B's netminder Tuukka Rask.
Rask finished with 27 saves in a losing effort, while Lehner stopped 37-of-40 for his sixth victory of the season.
John Moore made his return to the Boston lineup, and finished with three shots on goal, three hits, and two blocked shots in 16:11 of time on ice. Moore, who missed the first 28 games of the year due to offseason shoulder surgery, also tried to drop the gloves with Zack Smith following his questionable hit on Pastrnak.
Despite the loss, the Bruins kept their home point streak alive, and extended it to 17 games (12-0-5).
The Bruins will wrap up this five-game homestand with a Saturday night meeting against the Avalanche.