Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

  • The Bruins knew they weren’t going to go 41-0-0 at home this season.

    It may have felt like it at certain points — and, boy, I gotta admit I started to believe in the undefeated dream when Taylor Hall’s third-period power-play goal pulled the Bruins out of a 3-0 hole and back even at 3-3 — but it wasn’t going to happen. And a tired-looking Hall said it best when sitting at his stall after the team’s first home loss of the season, which came by way of a 4-3 shootout final to Bruce Cassidy’s Golden Knights.

    “To fight our way out [of the three-goal deficit] was great, but I think we were exhausted by the end of the game just from playing so hard and working to to get our game back,” Hall admitted.

    Hard to blame ’em.

    From the moment that Paul Cotter put the Golden Knights up by three goals with his second goal of the game, scored less than a minute into the middle frame, the Bruins threw absolutely everything they could at Logan Thompson. In fact, the Bruins outshot Vegas by a staggering 35-to-14 mark from Cotter’s goal through the end of the overtime session.

    “It kind of reminds me of the game in Ottawa, but this time we found a way to get back in the game and get a point,” Jim Montgomery remarked. “Their goalie played really well, especially in the second and third period.”

    To say that Thompson (40 saves) held on for dear life would be selling the rookie netminder short in this contest.

    The Bruins also had their chances to bury this game and extend the streak. Namely with an overtime power-play opportunity (and on a soft penalty by your typical overtime standards). The Bruins had been there before — long before the streak hit its teenage years, actually, with an overtime, power-play dagger against the Wild back in October — and to let it slip was something that came back to bite the Bruins on a night that required so much fight.

    “When you’re on a team like this, you sense moments that you have to take advantage of and I mean that four-on-three in overtime too, that’s another one that you’d love to have back,” said Hall. “But overall, I guess that’s probably the way our streak was going to end. You know, we battled back, we do everything we can to try and win the game, and ultimately a good team won against us.”

    For all the talk of the streak ending, the fact that the Bruins even got a point out of this said a ton about this team.

    Down by three, the Bruins had even reason to pack it in and look ahead to the upcoming road trip. I mean, the parade of high-caliber opponents that have come to TD Garden over the last week-plus would be reason enough for the Bruins to realize that this wasn’t going to be their night and turn the page. But that never even crossed the B’s mind in this effort.

    “I’m really proud of the group,” Montgomery said. “I mean, this is a great group of players to coach. They never quit. They never stop playing, and they never stop believing.

    “It’s unfortunate the streak came to an end, but we all knew it was going to come to an end at some point.”

    Here are some other thoughts and notes from a streak-snapping loss at TD Garden

  • This clearly wasn’t just another game for Cassidy’s Knights

    Dec 5, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Jake DeBrusk (74) skates by the Vegas Golden Knights bench as head coach Bruce Cassidy looks on during the first period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports

    Dec 5, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Jake DeBrusk (74) skates by the Vegas Golden Knights bench as head coach Bruce Cassidy looks on during the first period at TD Garden. (Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports)

  • Nothing about this game was “just another game.” Not for the Bruins and their streak, not for ex-Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, and not even for the Vegas skaters who had no dog in this fight back in June. And that became painfully apparent with not only the Golden Knights’ on-ice celebration, but what they said once they got back to their locker room.

    “It means a lot,” Jonathan Marchessault said of winning this game for Cassidy. “When you play your old teams, you always want to have a strong performance. We showed tonight that we want to play for a guy like that. He’s been great for us since he came in, so I know it meant a little bit more to him tonight and we’re happy to get the two points here.”

    “That’s very important, especially for Bruce,” Paul Cotter echoed. “We wanted that one bad as you could tell. It was great to get that win. It’s a big statement for us and it’s going to be a good mood on the ride home.”

    Honestly, this is perhaps the most bizarre mini-feud (and I’m well aware that even calling it that may be a stretch) in recent memory. It’s clear that Cassidy still has love for the fans and even the organization that canned him six months ago, and it’s also clear that his time had likely run its course with the Bruins given the way Jim Montgomery’s gotten the most out of each and every player on this year’s roster. There’s also been the subtle jabs at his style and messaging throughout his Bruins tenure, which created some all-around weird vibes entering this contest.

    Cassidy did his part to downplay any and all of that, instead noting that his own comments have probably played a hand in these storylines lingering around, and saying that he has respect for “pretty much every player” in Boston’s dressing room.

    (Read into the “pretty much” if you’d like, because it’s honestly only natural given what’s come out in the months since his departure and the sting that came with it for Cassidy even post-landing on his feet in Vegas.)

    But no doubt about it, this meant something extra for the Knights.

  • The playoffs have come to TDG earlier than expected

    Dec 5, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) and Vegas Golden Knights right wing Reilly Smith (19) battle for position during the third period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

    Dec 5, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) and Vegas Golden Knights right wing Reilly Smith (19) battle for position during the third period at TD Garden. (Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports)

  • I don’t know about you, but this game went from ugly to bleh to excellent in the blink of an eye. I mean, by the third period, it felt like a full-on playoff game out there. And by the second half of the third period, it felt like these teams were going end-to-end in the third overtime of a playoff game.

    “I mean, our building is electric all the time. Our fans are awesome and it did at moments,” Montgomery said when I asked if this game felt like a playoff-caliber game out there from his vantage point. “I thought the last two games we played had like the on-ice speed of it was playoff intensity.”

    That’s bound to happen when your homestand includes visits from the Hurricanes, Lightning, Avalanche, and Golden Knights in that order. Extend it beyond the homestand and you’re adding the Lightning and Panthers to that stretch. To post a 4-1-1 record through the opening six of that swing? You’ll take that every single time.

  • Bruins have something cooking with this third line

    Dec 3, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Taylor Hall (71) and center Charlie Coyle (13) celebrate a goal by center Trent Frederic (11) during the third period against the Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports

    Dec 3, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Taylor Hall (71) and center Charlie Coyle (13) celebrate a goal by center Trent Frederic (11) during the third period against the Colorado Avalanche. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

  • Quite a bit of line shuffling from the Bruins in this contest, but Montgomery’s third line with Charlie Coyle between Trent Frederic and Taylor Hall remained an effective one.

    Deployed for 6:16 of five-on-five time on ice, the Hall-Coyle-Frederic line out-attempted the Golden Knights by a 10-3 mark (a 76.92 corsi-for percentage), held an on-ice shot advantage edge of 7-1, out-chanced Vegas 8-1, and had a stellar 6-0 advantage in high-danger scoring chances.

    On a night where the Krejci line didn’t have their juice, Montgomery’s ability to get some productive and heavy shifts out of the B’s third line went an awfully long way towards making the comeback push a reality.

  • Everything else…

    Dec 5, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Taylor Hall (71) goes around Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud (2) during the first period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports

    Dec 5, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Taylor Hall (71) goes around Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud (2) during the first period at TD Garden. (Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports)

  • • If you’re looking for commonalities within the Bruins’ four losses this year, goaltending is what you’ll find. Excluding their first loss of the season, which came in a wild, high-scoring affair in Ottawa, opposing goaltenders have stopped all but six of the 103 shots faced. That’s a .942 save percentage. If the goaltender in the opposite crease needs to post a plus-.940 save percentage to beat your team, you have a damn good team.

    • If you think that the shootout has been a nightmare for the Bruins, you are… 100 percent correct. Since the start of the 2015-16 season, the Bruins are 18-23 in shootouts. That’s actually not the worst shootout winning percentage, but their actual shootout shooting percentage (22.7 percent) is ranked dead last. Also: Shooting first in the shootout has to be among my biggest pet peeves in hockey. Maybe it’s the baseball fan in me speaking here, but I feel like you should always want walkoff potential on your side.

    • Whether you like it or not, turnovers will always be part of David Pastrnak’s game. It’s the tradeoff with a player of his caliber who likes and needs the puck on his stick. And while Pastrnak’s first-period turnover handed Jonathan Marchessault a goal, Pastrnak bounced back ‘even’ with a last-minute goal in the second period of Boston’s road to a point. Pastrnak now has goals in 15 of his 24 games to date, and has points in all but four games this season. He’s currently paced for what would be a career-high 58 goals and 120 points.

    • A little funny to hear a classic Bruce-ism said by a few Bruins players after this one. “We didn’t start on time.” That was something Cassidy said a ton during his six-year tenure with the Bruins.

    • The Bruins certainly lucked out with Jack Eichel (lower-body injury) unavailable for the Golden Knights in this game. The Chelmsford, Mass. native has loved coming home in his career, with five goals and 12 points in eight career games at TD Garden. That’s tied with Nicklas Backstrom and Keith Yandle for the most points among all visitors since 2015. But it’s been an awfully long time since we’ve seen Eichel on Boston ice, as he has not played in a road game against the Bruins since Dec. 29, 2019.

    • Not sure how I feel about the Bruins wrapping up this season series by the weekend. Same for the season series with the Avalanche. I know there’s no way of projecting who will be the Stanley Cup threats when designing a schedule, but I would have loved to see post-deadline showdowns with each team. That’s typically when these games became true measuring stick contests.

Sign me up for the 98.5 The Sports Hub email newsletter!

Get the latest Boston sports news and analysis, plus exclusive on-demand content and special giveaways from Boston's Home for Sports, 98.5 The Sports Hub.

*
*
By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.