The Bruins might be developing some third-period, killer-instinct.
On Saturday night – and for the fifth straight game – Boston entered the final period of play with the game score within a one-goal margin.
And for the second straight night – after having come away the loser in three previous sessions in Ottawa, New York, and Philadelphia – the Bruins emerged victorious in regulation time.
Brad Marchand‘s goal with just 47-seconds remaining snapped a 2-2 deadlock with Toronto, sending the Bruins to a 3-2 win at TD Garden. The night before, in Buffalo, a 1-1 tie entering period three ended up in the B’s favor 4-1 after a final 20-minute surge.
“That’s what we kind of lacked in the last few games that we lost, [where] we got back on our heels and we didn’t make plays,” said Patrice Bergeron, who scored twice Saturday to gave his squad 1-0 and 2-1 leads. “We got scared of making a mistake, and when you do that you’re thinking actually you’re not trusting your instincts. We got back to being on our toes for the whole game and it showed. It was a tough game to win, but still we found a way.”
Boston had some extra final-period adversity to overcome on Saturday, too.
First, what looked to be an earlier go-ahead goal from Marchand was disallowed after a lengthy video review due to an offsides infraction.
Then, Toronto got their fifth power play of the evening – to just one chance for the Bruins on the night – with just over seven minutes to play.
And, after a successful kill, a misplay by goalie Tuukka Rask in the corner with just three minutes remaining forced defenseman Torey Krug into the net on all-fours as an emergency netminder. Krug’s fearlessness paid off, as a shot from Toronto’s P.A. Parenteau was blocked away, keeping the game knotted up before Marchand’s late-game finisher.
“It’s always nice to see somebody come up big and put himself in front of a puck,” head coach Claude Julien said about Krug’s save. “There wasn’t much margin for error tonight. When you see the opportunities we had that we didn’t score on, you always fear that one little bad break is going to end up in your net. But Torey made sure that didn’t happen.”
“It was great, kind of reminded me of Michael Ryder in the playoffs a little bit,” Bergeron said with a chuckle. “I thought his butterfly [style] was a little better. No, it was a great save obviously and if you look at that it’s a big, big save for us to score that extra goal.”
“It’s about time,” joked Rask about Krug helping him out. “No, I was too late going out there [in the corner]. I still had a play to make but I just didn’t. Lucikly he saved it because that would’ve been very, very disappointing if that went in. But, I’m gonna buy him a juice.”
“He’s bailed me out plenty of times over my career,” Krug said of Rask. “[I was] right-place, right-time, nothing more than that. I actually thought it was a good decision for ‘Tuuks’ to come out of the net. I just knew if the puck were to be turned over, someone would have to be in front there, and I did my best impression, taking the angle away and went down. Lucky enough, it hit me and it stayed out.”
Marchand took care of the rest, with his game-winning snipe from the left half-wall puntuating the complete-game effort for Boston, while also gave the Bruins’ their first multi-game winning streak since December 20th.
It also avoided more of the late-game pain that comes without banking two-points that seem to be within your grasp.
“We’ve been on both sides of that,” admitted Rask. “You have to stick with it. I thought we were the better team [tonight], scoring chances and shot-wise. We were moving the puck well in the offensive zone, creating chances. Finally we got rewarded. It feels good to win.”
“Obviously we had to work extra hard to get it,” said Julien. “We missed so many opportunities and their goaltender made some great saves. We didn’t seem to be getting any breaks at all during that whole game, so I thought it was important for us to stay composed and focused and control what we could, and that’s what we did. You hope the guys realize how important that is and what the end result turns out to be after that.”
“It’s tough when a team scores on you late in a game like that,” said Marchand. “It’s nice to be able to win games in regulation and not let teams’ climb up below you. I think we have to be happy knowing that we played a full sixty minutes, played great the whole way through, and it showed there at the end.”