The Bruins needed a third-period comeback to force overtime in what could have very well been an easy victory. That was the highlight of the night, as they then lost to the Flames in the eighth round of a shootout.
Patrice Bergeron scored the shootout’s first goal when he beat Karri Ramo in the seventh round, but Calgary scored in the seventh and eighth rounds to win the battle of eighth-place teams.
The Flames had no business being in the game, but through penalties and mistakes the B’s gave a third-period lead to a team they’d mostly dominated on the night.
Here are five things we learned on a frustrating night for the B’s:
JULIEN GOES BACK TO WHAT WORKS
Claude Julien has pulled a lot of tricks with his lineup this season. He’s got an underachieving group to work with, so not all of the tricks pay off.
The one that seems to time and time again, however, is reuniting Chris Kelly, Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson.
Amidst a frustrating third period that saw Eriksson miss a wide open net on a 2-on-1 before the Bruins handed over a 3-2 lead to the Flames, Julien pulled Kelly up from the fourth line and played him on Soderberg’s left wing in place of Daniel Paille. The result was the goal for which Eriksson was overdue in the period.
After Kelly tipped a Soderberg shot in front of the net, Eriksson put in the rebound to tie the game and save the Bruins some embarrassment.
TALBOT GETS ON THE BOARD THE WRONG WAY
Max Talbot made his Bruins debut Thursday. He skated on the fourth line with Chris Kelly and Brian Ferlin and was used on the penalty kill. He also took a dumb penalty in the first period.
The veteran grinder threw Dennis Wideman into the corner from behind in the Flames zone, making for an offensive zone boarding penalty to kick off his Bruins career (GIF courtesy of Pete Blackburn and Days of Y’Orr).
PENALTIES COME IN BUNCHES (AND LATE)
The first period was all Bruins, but three late penalties in a span of 3:30 derailed things and cost Boston a lead going into the first intermission.
After the B’s killed off Talbot’s boarding penalty, Matt Bartkowski was called for
hooking Drew Shore in front of the net. That led to a Sean Monahan power play goal at 18:49. Less than one minute later, Carl Soderberg hooked Monahan as the Bruins tried to get back to break up a Calgary scoring bid.
Monahan’s goal and the ensuing Soderberg penalty meant that the Bruins went into the second period on the penalty kill for 1:45 in a tied game despite dominating the first period.
Less than a minute after Jiri Hudler tied the game late in the second, the Bruins were called for too many men on the ice, though they killed it off.
All in all, the Bruins took seven penalties on the night, two of which were stick penalties by Bartkowski.
SPOONER HEATING UP
Ryan Spooner is now riding a three-game point streak (one goal, two assists) and has points in four of his last five games after assisting a first-period Milan Lucic goal.
Spooner, who got schooled by Chris Kelly on draws in Wednesday’s practice, won a faceoff to set up the possession before feeding Lucic from behind the net.
It wasn’t a perfect night for Spooner, as he probably should have been responsible for Jiri Hudler on Calgary‘s second goal. Hudler raced to a bad rebound kicked out by Tuukka Rask as the Kelly and Spooner lines were in the midst of a line change and buried a shot to make the game 2-2.
Spooner was also the victim of a phantom interference penalty early in the third period with the Bruins on the power play. He continues to play on Boston’s first power play unit.
It’s tempting to wonder where Spooner will play once David Krejci returns from his injury. Of course, by doing that one would be assuming the Bruins don’t have any other injuries in five weeks. Given this season, waiting and seeing might be the best approach.
BRUINS MISS AN OPPORTUNITY
The Bruins appeared to catch a major break when, after the Flames took the lead on a third-period power play goal from Johnny Gaudreau, T.J. Brodie took a delay of game penalty for sending the puck over the glass. The Flames are already without their Norris-worthy No. 1 in Mark Giordano, so Brodie, Calgary’s other really, really good defenseman going off the ice for two minutes provided the Bruins with a terrific opportunity to tie the game.
Instead, the B’s squandered the power play and Reilly Smith took a holding penalty with 34 seconds remaining in Brodie’s penalty.