Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Dec 19, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Minnesota Wild left wing Kirill Kaprizov (97) smiles as he is congratulated by teammates after scoring against the Boston Bruins during the third period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery doesn’t believe that his team’s obvious and undeniable problems with third-period leads are unique to them. In fact, speaking after Tuesday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Wild at TD Garden, Montgomery remarked that he watched two different teams blow leads from his couch last night.

But if there was one thing that Montgomery did take issue with, it was the overtime shot from Jake DeBrusk that missed the net and helped spring the Wild for a three-on-one look that ultimately sealed Boston’s fate in this one.

“Gotta get that on net [and] I don’t like the shot selection” Montgomery said of DeBrusk’s overtime shot that sailed wide of Minnesota netminder Marc-Andre Fleury’s cage. “And I don’t like both guys going to the net, going all the way to the goal line. That’s what gives up the three-on-one the other way.”

“In three-on-three, our game management wasn’t great,” said Montgomery. “We had full possession and we lost it 40 seconds with, I don’t know if it’s a careless pass, but it’s not a tape-to-tape pass. And now they have possession.”

It was a mistake that the Bruins simply couldn’t afford to make on a night that saw Fleury rob the Bruins of what looked like certain goals again and again, and with 40 saves by the night’s end.

“You did sense [frustration] because we had great looks and he was being his Fleury self,” Montgomery offered. “He was reading it well and he was really agile getting it going left to right.”

  • The overtime loss also saw the Bruins by all means spoil the energy created by a first-period fight from the Bruins’ Jakub Lauko with Minnesota forward Connor Dewar just three seconds after the Wild’s Marcus Johansson opened the scoring up for Minnesota with a power-play finish on Linus Ullmark.

    “A lot,” Montgomery said when asked of the lift that Lauko’s scrap brought to his team. “It was great. It got us into it and I thought we picked up our intensity after that. [Minnesota] had just scored and I thought we were flat, and Lauko picked us up.

    “I do think it was [Lauko]’s best game, just because of his intensity.”

  • With the crowd back on their side just moments after a goal against, it was David Pastrnak who kickstarted the scoring for the Bruins with a goal scored just three and a half minutes after Lauko’s fight.

    The strike was a beauty of a wrist shot from Pastrnak, and with the primary helper credited to Johnny Beecher in what feels like a goal that’ll be in the running for ‘Odd Couple of the Year’ for the Bruins when it comes to the scorer and the assist man combining for the marker.

    And Pastrnak wasn’t done.

    With the pressure turned up on Marc-Andre Fleury and the Wild down to the wire of the first period, Pastrnak hammered home a feed from Pavel Zacha and beat ‘MAF’ in what was a true buzzer beater, with the puck crossing the red line with under a second left in the first period of play.

  • Up by one through 40 minutes of play, the Bruins put themselves on yet another white-knuckle roller coaster ride of a third period. And it did look like Ullmark was ready to carry Boston to the finish line, especially after an incredible, echoing pad save on Jacob Middleton with 12:09 remaining in the period.

    But a bounce off the Boston post went right to Kirill Kaprizov for the game-tying goal with 6:48 remaining in the third period, and Ryan Hartman buried the go-ahead goal just 1:58 later.

    It looked as if the Bruins were well on their way to letting not one, but two points slip out of their grasp.

    But back on the power play late in the third period when Charlie Coyle drove to the front of the net and drew a high-sticking penalty on Minnesota’s Alex Goligoski, a seemingly neverending scramble in front of the Minnesota net (complete with a Wild penalty killer playing without a stick and Fleury using a skater’s stick with his goalie stick stuck behind the net), Brad Marchand popped home the game-tying marker that allowed the Bruins a salvage a point from an otherwise disastrous final frame.

    But with the loss in overtime, the B’s suffered their sixth defeat in all when leading after two periods of play (five of those six losses have come in overtime), and now dropped back-to-back games in such fashion.

  • Dec 19, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Minnesota Wild left wing Marcus Foligno (17) collides with Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy (73) during the second period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

    Dec 19, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Minnesota Wild left wing Marcus Foligno (17) collides with Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy (73) during the second period at TD Garden. (Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports)

    If you’re looking for good news from this one, the Bruins did get two boosts to their lineup Tuesday night, with Pavel Zacha and Charlie McAvoy both back in action for Montgomery’s squad.

    Playing in his first game since Dec. 7, McAvoy finished with two hits and one shot in 24:29 of time on ice, while Zacha recorded two assists and landed three shots on goal in 21:07 of action.

    Up next, the Bruins will head to Winnipeg for a Friday night showdown with the Jets.

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