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Talking Points: Brad Marchand plays the OT hero in tight 2-1 win

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Talking Points: Brad Marchand plays the OT hero in tight 2-1 win

Here are some talking points from the Bruins' 2-1 overtime win vs the Stars on Monday night. . .

GOLD STAR: Brad Marchand made a nice adjustment noticing how tightly Anton Khudobin was guarding his short-side post, and he took advantage of it in the overtime session. Of course, it takes a pinpoint sniper to get it there, but Marchand rattled a puck off the inside of the outer post with just 31 seconds left in overtime to give the Bruins the OT victory. It was the end of a strong game for No. 63 as Marchand scored the OT game-winner, had five shots on net, seven shot attempts overall and played a whopping 22:06 of ice time in the victory. The overtime goal was Marchand’s first point of the game, but it was pretty clear that Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak all had their good games flowing against Dallas in a situation where they really had to be that good.

BLACK EYE: Tyler Seguin really did not have a good game against his old team. Seguin finished with two shots on net after not registering a shot in the first 40 minutes of the game, and was just 3-for-9 in the face-off circle. Worse still, Seguin was a key player in the too many men on the ice penalty that the Stars took in the 3-on-3 overtime that eventually morphed into a 5-on-3 power play for the Bruins in the overtime session. The Bruins had the 5-on-3 for nearly the entire final two minutes of the overtime session, and that miscue eventually paved the way for the Bruins to win the game. It’s been interesting to watch Seguin against the B’s over the years because he’s had a couple of really good performances, and then a few like Monday night that were eminently forgettable.

TURNING POINT: For the Bruins, it was pretty simple. Yes, the shot that Tuukka Rask allowed to go in from just inside the blue line was deflected off Torey Krug’s stick. But it was still something where Rask had ample time to adjust to it and let it get by him for a long distance shorthanded goal to Radek Faksa. That could have been a real momentum crusher for the Bruins, but instead, the Bruins stormed right back down and scored with a David Pastrnak one-timer to seize back the momentum. That allowed Rask to finally settle into his game, allowed the B’s to really dictate the terms of the game and then ultimately led to their overtime win over Dallas.

HONORABLE MENTION: Yes, Rask let in a soft goal on the second shot of the game. Yes, he has allowed one of those weird, soft goals in almost every start he’s made this season. But Rask was also steady and pretty much mistake-free for the rest of the game after the Stars shorthanded strike, and he finished with 24 saves in his fourth victory of the season. Rask was better in the second period than he was in the first, and then he was really, really good in the third with 10 saves including some when Dallas made a late push to avoid overtime. Rask still has a ways to go to get to his normal November form when he starts to really dominate, but Monday was a good step getting two points against a Dallas team that had been pretty hot previous to taking on the Bruins.

BY THE NUMBERS: 1 – The first assist of the season for Jake DeBrusk on the first period Bruins goal as he retrieved a puck, and then got it to Patrice Bergeron feeding David Pastrnak for the one-timer.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Three posts, a goal we scored that Anders could have really used that got waved off…it’s coming." –Bruce Cassidy, on the state of the offense as the Bruins were close to breaking out while still getting the 2-1 OT win over the Stars. 

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Haggerty: These blown leads are becoming a plague for the Bruins

Haggerty: These blown leads are becoming a plague for the Bruins

PITTSBURGH — If it happened once or twice, it could be shrugged off as a coincidence.

But the Bruins have blown three-goal leads three times this season, including two in the last week alone. That gives them one of the NHL's worst records when leading after two periods, with seven losses already this season.

To put Sunday's 4-3 loss at Pittsburgh in perspective, the Bruins went into the contest 200-1-6 since 2010-11 in games where they’d held a three-goal lead. 

It came down to a couple different things on Sunday, but you can start with their sloppy second period. They basically did nothing for the first 10 minutes coming out of the first intermission. That opened the door for everything that followed.

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First, Sidney Crosby made a couple of All-World plays to set up goals and get the Penguins back in the game. Then, it came down to the Bruins dooming themselves with mistakes, allowing two more goals without any offensive response. 

On the third goal, their top power-play unit stayed out on the ice far too long, and a gassed Brad Marchand couldn’t catch Jack Johnson as the trailer unloaded a shorthanded bomb. Then in the third, Evgeni Malkin stripped Charlie McAvoy behind the Boston net and set up Bryan Rust for the Penguins' game-winner.

To a man, the Bruins said it wasn’t about taking the foot off the gas pedal. Instead, they pointed to mistakes made while crediting Pittsburgh for pushing back.

“It’s typically how does it happen? We saw some poor defending and some poor goaltending in Philly, and tonight it was more of the same to be honest with you,” said coach Bruce Cassidy. “Not so much on the goalie. They were good goals. But we get beat off the wall and the last one I can’t tell you what happened to be honest with you.

“I saw them bump their urgency up. The goals we are giving up against a good team…what is it a lack of focus? Do we lose our urgency? Because they are gifts a little bit. You can get outplayed by good teams, and you will in stretches. But these were gifts today.”

But it sure feels like the mind-numbing results fly in the face of their denials. Instead, something feels inherently wrong with a team that consistently plays down to the worst teams in the league, and seems to ease up once they build a comfortable lead. Those are the kinds of team traits that don’t go away as things get more challenging, and will certainly crop up when things are heightened. It’s also a shocking development for a Bruins team that’s been very good at closing out other teams over the years.

“We just need to bear down and you can’t just have a good effort and be satisfied with that, and then come back in the next game and just play for half of a game or whatever that was,” said Patrice Bergeron, who scored his 21st goal of the season and won 20-of-25 face-offs. “We need to take it upon ourselves. We all need to take responsibility and be accountable for how we’re able to play in this locker room.

“It’s one of those games where we’re playing a good team and they’re going to give you a push, but you can’t let that go by. It’s a 3-0 and you know there’s a lot of game left, so you need to play the right way and keep pushing in order to increase that lead.”

The good news for the Bruins is that they still have a half-season to figure things out. But it also makes one wonder if something has to change from the outside to improve things for a Bruins team that's almost the same as last season’s Stanley Cup finalist.

It remains to be seen what’s going to right the ship, or if it will ever get righted at all. But the list of problems is growing for a Bruins team that can’t live off its early-season success for much longer.

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Bruins don't expect David Backes to retire after demotion to AHL

Bruins don't expect David Backes to retire after demotion to AHL

David Backes was waived by the Boston Bruins late last week. The statement move to demote the veteran Bruin was part of two critical changes that the B's made to their team. The other was waiving fellow enforcer and physical forward Brett Ritchie.

After Backes' demotion, there was some speculation that the 14-year veteran may opt to retire instead of playing in the AHL for the Providence Bruins. But according to Bruins president Cam Neely, Backes hasn't indicated that he will do that.

"I don’t think he has a mindset of retirement," said Neely per Kevin Paul Dupont of The Boston Globe. "He’s a very proud man, and a professional. I still have the feeling he thinks he can help, so we’ll see where it goes from here."

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This isn't altogether surprising. Backes may be holding out hope that he'll get another chance to play moving forward if he can prove himself in the AHL. 

Backes turns 36 in May, but hockey players often have long careers. So, it's possible that Backes could find a role as a veteran depth piece for another team. It'll just be on a deal much cheaper than the five-year, $30 million deal he signed with the Bruins back in the 2016 offseason.

That said, it's worth noting that Backes has had concussion issues in recent seasons. So that could impact his decision-making moving forward.

In 16 games this season, Backes had just one goal and two assists for the Bruins. He'll take some time off before joining the Providence Bruins later this month.