A goal from each member of the Bruins’ vaunted top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak proved to not be enough Saturday, as the Bruins fell to the visiting Rangers by a 4-3 overtime final at TD Garden.
And for the Bruins, the loss came back to one brutal mistake by Linus Ullmark in overtime.
Given the puck by Pastrnak, Ullmark surveyed his options with the Rangers’ Alexis Lafreniere barreling in on him to cut down an angle. Thinking he could beat Lafreniere, Ullmark tried to fire a puck by him, but was intercepted and quickly found himself looking skyward in frustration as Lafreniere buried an easy game-winner as the Rangers poured out of the bench.
I think Linus Ullmark might want to have this one back. pic.twitter.com/6506FwyGwt— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) October 3, 2021
“He just made a mistake, their player made a good play to not give up on it,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “If he gets it by that player, it’s a three-on-two. But you expect [Ullmark] to move it by their player or hold onto it.”
“It’s preseason. Mistakes happen,” Ullmark said. “Just gotta move on from it and learn from it.”
Before the overtime goof-up, a power-play bullet from Pastrnak just 2:39 into the first period opened up the scoring from the Bruins, and with the assists to Bergeron and McAvoy on Pastrnak’s first of the preseason.
And when the Rangers tied things up just 25 seconds after the Pastrnak score, it was Bergeron who provided the lift with a blast through the Rangers’ Alexandar Georgiev off a drop-back dish from Mike Reilly at the 5:04 mark of the game.
Not to be outdone by his linemates, however, it was Marchand who came through with the filthiest goal of them all with a shorthanded marker that left the Ranger looking downright silly to put the Bruins up 3-1 less than 14 minutes into action.
The Rangers countered the Marchand goal before the period’s conclusion with a Sammy Blais goal through traffic and through Ullmark and made it a one-goal contest through 20 minutes of action.
But the Bruins more than kept the Rangers at bay in a second period that saw ’em double the Blueshirts up in shots by a 10-to-5 mark, and at times simply toyed with New York with their offensive-zone puck possession skills.
The Bruins looked poised for more of that in the third period, too, until a McAvoy slash on a Kevin Rooney shorthanded breakaway gave the Ranger forward a penalty shot opportunity against the Bruins’ Ullmark. And Rooney did not miss.
With four goals on 19 shots faced, Ullmark’s preseason save percentage dipped down to .813 through two appearances with Boston, and with the 28-year-old noting that there’s definitely room for improvement.
“It’s alright,” Ullmark said when asked about his game right now. “There’s some things that need to be dealt with, obviously. Just gotta go back to it and plug away, go through with it with Bob [Essensa] and see what we can change or if it was just one of those days.”
Up next, the Bruins will head to Philly for a Monday meeting with the Flyers.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. 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.