Bruins

Talking Points from the B's 4-3 overtime loss to the Leafs

Talking Points from the B's 4-3 overtime loss to the Leafs

Here are Joe Haggerty's Talking Points from the Bruins' 4-3 overtime loss to the Maple Leafs Saturday night in Toronto.

GOLD STAR: Mitch Marner once again played the role of Bruins killer setting up the overtime game-winner and a very strong game overall. Marner fired one past a tiring B’s trio on the final play of the game and finished with two assists, four shots on net, two hits and five takeaways while playing strong hockey at both ends of the ice. It was interesting to see the Leafs load up with Marner and Auston Matthews on one line to combat what the Bruins are doing with Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak and it worked out in their favor on Saturday night. Marner now has five goals and 19 points in 13 games along with a plus-9 rating against the Black and Gold, and that doesn’t even count the damage he’s done in the playoffs.

BLACK EYE: Sean Kuraly had a rough night. He fumbled around with the puck in the Bruins zone in a play that ended up leading to Toronto’s second goal and he had to be bailed out in the second period when another D-zone turnover led to a quality scoring chance for Tyson Barrie. Kuraly finished with a minus-1 in 14:12 of ice time while landing just one shot on net, committing the two giveaways and generally fighting the puck all night when it was on his stick. He did finish with five hits so at least he came around with some physicality while realizing that other parts of his game were not good, but it wasn’t a banner night at all for Kuraly and the B’s fourth line.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins had a gassed unit on the ice toward the end of the 3-on-3 OT as Brad Marchand, Charlie Coyle and Torey Krug were left out against Auston Matthews, Morgan Rielly and Mitch Marner, and that’s really the kind of scenario where the Maple Leafs are going to enjoy a pretty big advantage. So predictably the Leafs waited out the Bruins trio and then scored with Mitch Marner’s shot getting deflected by Morgan Rielly into the back of the net for the OT game-winner. The 60-minute regulation game was very entertaining with back-and-forth from both teams as one has come to expect over the last few years, and felt more like a midseason game than something just a couple of weeks into a new year.

HONORABLE MENTION: The Bruins were riding David Pastrnak, who finished with a big game-tying goal toward the end of the third period to force things into overtime. The goal gave the Bruins a hard-fought point and gave Pastrnak his NHL-leading ninth goal of the season as he continues to be red-hot to start the season. Pastrnak finished with a goal, two points, five shot attempts and a couple of hits and a blocked shot while overcoming five giveaways in a game where the puck was on his stick quite a bit. It was the sizzling short side one-timer in the final five minutes of the third period, though, that registers as the biggest play of the game for the Bruins. The nine goals and 15 points in eight games is something else.

BY THE NUMBERS: 1 – the first goal of the season for Jake DeBrusk after scoring late in the first period, a development that the Bruins hope leads to a hot streak for the left winger. Truth be told DeBrusk could have had two or three goals based on the chances he was getting, but he’ll take busting out of his slump.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “It was nice. You don’t want to rely on the top guys every night. Obviously they’ve been on fire but the rest of us also want to chip in.” –Danton Heinen, who also supplied some offense with his PP goal at the start of the third period.

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Talking Points: Krejci, DeBrusk answer the bell in Bruins' win over Panhters

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Talking Points: Krejci, DeBrusk answer the bell in Bruins' win over Panhters

Here are my talking points from tonight's 4-2 Bruins win in South Florida . . .

GOLD STAR: David Krejci didn’t have a single point during the five-game losing streak. But on Saturday night he stepped up and, lo and behold, the Bruins took home two points. It was Krejci helped kick-start the transition game for Jake DeBrusk’s goal in the first period, and then scored one of his own in the second on a strike from the top of the faceoff circle. Krejci finished with a goal and two points and a plus-2 rating in 16:20 of ice time. He also had five shot attempts and won 9-of-14 faceoffs in a game where the second line providence plenty of offense and pressure. Bruce Cassidy slipped Charlie Coyle up to second-line right wing with Krejci and DeBrusk at the outset of the game, and it seemed to work well for the Black and Gold.

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BLACK EYE: Jonathan Huberdeau is having a very good season for the Panthers, but he wasn’t able to bring out his “A” game for Florida against the Bruins. Huberdeau didn’t get a single shot on net in the 21:25 of ice time that he played. He finished with three giveaways and a minus-1 against the Bruins. He was part of the line set to contain the Krejci line, but instead allowed them to march right up the ice on DeBrusk’s first period scoring play. Huberdeau was also on ice in the third, when Florida coach Joel Quenneville pulled the goalie with more than two minutes to go, only for David Pastrnak to quickly notch an empty-netter that sealed the game. Not a good night for a very good player.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins weathered the storm in the third when the Panthers came hard after them and carved out a couple of goals to cut the lead to 3-2. Considering that the Bruins blew a 4-0 third period lead against the Panthers at home just a month ago, there was certainly some nervous, anxious moments, with the Bruins looking like they’d blow a three-goal lead in the third period this time. But the B’s stiffened after Jaro Halak gave up a soft goal on a Keith Yandle point shot to make it a one-goal game. They didn’t allow Florida to take advantage of any other breakdowns. Instead the B’s hung in there, patiently waiting until the Florida net opened up the winning scoring chance for them.

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HONORABLE MENTION: Jake DeBrusk was at the heart of some of the criticism from Bruce Cassidy after the loss in Tampa when the second and third lines weren’t getting much of anything done. DeBrusk was also one of the players that responded in a big way this weekend by scoring the game’s first goal, a pretty nifty dangle through Florida defenders before beating Sergei Bobrovsky in tight close to the net. DeBrusk also fed David Krejci for his second period goal, finishing with five shot attempts and a couple blocked shots in 15:38 of ice time while posting a plus-2 rating. Perhaps just as important, DeBrusk was winning 50/50 battles for the puck and playing a competitive brand of hockey rather than doing fly-bys in a lot of areas while hunting the puck. If DeBrusk played with the same kind of speed, skill and tenacity on more nights, he’d be a difference-maker for the Bruins more often.

BY THE NUMBERS: 28 – The number of goals for David Pastrnak after collecting two scores against the Panthers, and putting himself in a position where he’s easily going to have 30 goals before the Christmas break.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “I thought we did a really good job. Every line played well. We moved some guys around, but right up and down the lineup all 12 forwards, 6 [defensemen] and Jaroslav Halak were all really good.” –Bruce Cassidy to NESN when asked his assessment of the win that snapped the longest B’s losing streak (five games) since he took over as head coach.  

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Highlights: B's snap losing skid vs. Panthers

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Highlights: B's snap losing skid vs. Panthers

FINAL SCORE: Bruins 4, Panthers 2

IN BRIEF: Oh not, not this again? After the Bruins’ epic third-period collapse in their last meeting with Florida, they nearly repeated themselves after going up 3-0 after two periods. Keith Yandle’s goal with 11 minutes left made it 3-2, Boston fought off the Panthers long enough for David Pastrnak to get an empty-netter that sealed it. And so, after coach Bruce Cassidy called out their attention to details earlier in the week, the Bruins snapped their losing skid with a solid all-around effort.

BOX SCORE

BRUINS RECORD: 21-7-6 (48 points, 1st in Atlantic Division)

HIGHLIGHTS

DEBRUSK’S 100TH CAREER POINT IS A BEAUTY

KREJCI MAKES IT 2-0

PERFECTION LINE MAKES IT LOOK EASY

UP NEXT:

vs. Los Angeles, Tuesday, 7 p.m., NESN

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