TORONTO – The Bruins failed to hold a one-goal lead in the final minute of Friday night’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it ended up costing them a point, and some pointed words from their head coach.
The Bruins had their shutdown defenseman pair on the ice with Zdeno Chara and Brandon Carlo, and they had another trusted defender in Riley Nash out on the ice with Tim Schaller and Noel Acciari. A number of those players had chances to clear the puck after Toronto had pulled their goalie, but instead, James van Riemsdyk redirected a goal amid a scramble in front to tie things in an eventual 3-2 overtime win for Toronto.
The Bruins allowed a power-play goal to van Riemsdyk in the second period that was also a scramble in front of the net, and the Maple Leafs scored little more than a minute into OT after David Pastrnak’s gamble turned into an odd-man rush for Toronto. But it was the lack of execution in the defensive zone in the final minute of the third period that weathered the sharpest arrows from a displeased bench boss following the game.
“On the tying goal we had three guys with the puck that we trust to get the job done, and we just couldn’t get it out. We were soft on it. We can’t sugarcoat it. That’s what happened,” said B’s coach Bruce Cassidy. “If you have to ice it, that’s fine. We’re not against it in those situations even if it’s not our first choice obviously, but we didn’t get it out and they made a play. Once you get that many guys around the net you get fatigued, and they had one more guy out on the ice than we did. They found him.”
The unfortunate part of the whole thing is that one minute of shoddy defense at the end of the third period wiped out 59 minutes of good, hard work that had put Boston in a position to take two points out of Toronto against a Leafs team playing without Auston Matthews. Instead, they gave up a point in the OT loss that should have been theirs, and the Bruins have to hope that doesn’t become one of the wasted points at the end of the season that plays a role in their Stanley Cup playoff lives.