David Pastrnak’s overtime goal lifts Bruins past Detroit
For much of the 2016-17 season, the Bruins have searched for new and creative ways to lose games. Last night, with the season slipping away and perhaps a coaching era hanging in the balance, they finally found a way to win.
Facing a marginal Detroit Red Wings team missing two of its better forwards in Thomas Vanek and Dylan Larkin, the B’s looked on their way to another ignominious defeat before Brad Marchand tied the game at 8:20 of the third period and David Pastrnak sealed the 4-3 victory with his 20th goal of the season with 46.9 seconds left in overtime.
Tuukka Rask allowed a soft goal in the second period that put the Wings up 3-2, but he slammed the door in the third, stopping all eight shots, some of which were labeled.
The win snapped the B’s season-long, four-game losing streak, and the goal ended Pastrnak’s 16-game goal drought with a bang.
The Bruins should have won this game, but easy wins are not what they do. Though they outshot the Wings, 49-26, there were times when some players were in the midst of a crisis of confidence, especially in the second period when they lost a lead and trailed at the start of the third.
“I’m not going to lie, it was a frustrating game because you see your team doing so many good things and again, you’re not being rewarded as much as you should with some goals,” said coach Claude Julien, whose seat has never seemed hotter in his eventful decade behind the bench. “And yet every breakdown we had ends up in the back of your net.
“I think there was some frustration going into the third, but the right kind of frustration, like, ‘Enough is enough, and we’re going to go out there and find a way to win.’ Those first wins are never easy after you’ve lost a lot of games. Hopefully that’s the first moving in the right direction.”
The game started just the way the Bruins would have liked. Defenseman Kevan Miller, back after missing four games because of a concussion, scored his first goal of the season when he used a screen by Jimmy Hayes (playing his first game after seven healthy scratches) to pick the far corner past goalie Jared Coreau.
The B’s did not allow a shot on net until the 10:59 mark, but that shot was a breakaway. The speedy Anthony Athanasiou got behind Brandon Carlo and beat Rask over the blocker.
As demoralizing as that goal could have been, the Bruins kept at it and reclaimed the lead before the period was out on the power play. Marchand put back a rebound of a Ryan Spooner shot from the top of the crease, and it was 2-1.
“When’s the last time we saw Spoons in front of the net? That’s a guy wanting to do something to help the team,” said Julien, who gave his players some hard truths in a video session on Monday. “I look at those things and hope they’re not just a one-time thing, and guys can build off that.”
But by the end of the second, the B’s were looking at a deficit. After a lost battle in the corner, the puck came out to Detroit’s Mike Green at the right point, and he banked a shot off Miller’s skate past Rask to tie it at 2.
Then came a goal that felt like a killer at the time. The Wings took off on an odd-man rush, and Tomas Tatar took a shot that trickled off Rask’s glove and rolled over the line.
But Marchand tied it in the third after circling the net off the rush and backhanding home a rebound of a Patrice Bergeron shot.
On the OT winner, David Krejci kicked the puck to himself at the blue line — a video review confirmed it was onside — and put it on a tee for Pastrnak’s blazing one-timer and the win.
“There was no way we were going to let anyone drag us down tonight,” Julien said. “If certain guys weren’t doing the job, they would have been watching. To a man, we were out there working hard. When you get tired of losing, you do something about it. And I think tonight, our guys had that determination.”