The Bruins ended an up-and-down calendar year with an up-and-down showing Wednesday and came out of it with a 4-3 shootout loss to the Maple Leafs.
Nazem Kadri scored the game-winner for Toronto in the fifth round of the shootout. Torey Krug scored Boston’s only shootout goal.
Boston struggled in the second period but received late goals in the frame from David Krejci and Krug, with the teams playing a scoreless third to set up overtime. The B’s outshot Toronto, 4-0, in the extra five-minute period.
The Bruins got both Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron back in the loss. The B’s have now dropped two of their last three games (1-1-1).
Here are four more things we learned Wednesday:
NET DRIVE DOES WONDERS
At times in the second period it appeared that the Bruins mistook the NHL for a point-per-reception fantasy football league. When they started going hard to the net and putting pucks on net, they started scoring.
Trailing by a pair of goals, Boston first got on the board when David Krejci sent a puck in front with Milan Lucic crashing the net. The puck never got to Lucic, as it went off Cody Franson and over Jonathan Bernier on its way in.
Just over two minutes later, Loui Eriksson opted against going to the net and passed to Torey Krug, but Krejci went hard to the net and Krug’s pass for him went off the skate of Leo Komarov and into the net to tie the game. Two net drives, two passes, two goals.
DOUGIE’S BIG NEW YEAR NOT SO FUN IN THE FIRST
Though everyone in the media decided prior to the season that this is Dougie’s Big Year, Dougie’s Big New Year wasn’t as fun for the Bruins.
Hamilton was the victim of a weak cross-checking call on a play in which Nazem Kadri lost an edge and fell to the ice and was faced with a tough judgment call as he exited the box.
The Leafs had the puck in the neutral zone as Hamilton’s penalty expired, and he opted for a change rather than going into the zone to defend. It’s hard to criticize his choice given that Toronto dumped the puck into the zone rather than skating it in, but the Leafs were putting the finishing touches on Leo Komarov’s fifth goal of the season by the time Hamilton got to the bench.
Hamilton would make up for it with less than six minutes to play in the first by breaking up a pass from Tyler Bozak to Phil Kessel on the doorstep to save a goal, but a turnover in the offensive zone on his next shift sprung Kessel for a breakaway on which Chara hooked Kessel to give Toronto a penalty shot.
LUCIC RETURNS TO KREJCI, BRINGS GRIFFITH WITH HIM
With Lucic and Patrice Bergeron back in the lineup, the Bruins went back to the usual Marchand-Bergeron-Smith line and played Seth Griffith on the right wing of Krejci and Lucic.
Griffith has been Krejci’s most common right wing this season, but Craig Cunningham had been skating on the other side of Krejci in recent games before Lucic’s absence Monday forced Julien to play Krejci with Marchand and Smith.
The rookie right wing winning the puck in the defensive zone and getting the puck out led to Krejci’s second-period goal.
In the final minute of the game, Claude Julien deployed Eriksson on the right with Lucic and Krejci. The B’s have been hesitant to play the trio together. Griffith was back with Lucic and Krejci in overtime and couldn’t finish off a play in front off a feed from Lucic.
Tuukka Rask has been known to lose his temper on the ice, and it looked for a moment like he could have had his first career fight Wednesday night.
Rask took issue with David Clarkson in front of the net in the final seconds of the second period. He had words with the veteran forward as Torey Krug defended the goalie, but as the teams skated off the ice, Rask and Bernier had words and had to be separated. Both goalies were nodding at one another, suggesting they were wiling to drop the gloves, but nothing came go it.