Jonathan Toews ended the Boston Bruins’ eight-game win streak with his game-winning goal in overtime to lift the Chicago Blackhawks over the B’s, 4-3, at TD Garden on Thursday.
Robin Lehner (6-5-3 record, 2.71 goals against average, .929 save percentage in 15 games played) stopped 37 out of 40 shots faced for a .925 SV% in the overtime win for the Blackhawks.
Bruins goaltender, Tuukka Rask (13-2-3, 2.14 GAA, .929 SV% in 18 GP) made 27 saves on 31 shots against (.871 SV%) in the overtime loss.
Boston hosted Chicago on Thursday after defeating the Carolina Hurricanes, 2-0, on Tuesday night in Jaroslav Halak’s 500th NHL game.
David Krejci became the 19th player in Bruins franchise history to reach 200 career goals with the club in Tuesday night’s shutout over the Hurricanes, by the way. If you noticed, we had the night off from recapping the game.
The Bruins fell to 20-3-6 (46 points) on the season, but remained in 1st place in the Atlantic Division. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks improved to 11-12-5 (27 points), but stayed in 7th place (last) in the Central Division.
Boston fell to 12-0-5 at home this season, while Chicago improved to 5-5-1 in their last 11 games.
Kevan Miller (knee), Karson Kuhlman (fractured tibia), Zach Senyshyn (lower body) and Patrice Bergeron (lower body) were all out of the lineup due to injury against the Blackhawks.
Brett Ritchie (upper body) was once again in limbo (he wasn’t in the lineup, but he also technically wasn’t listed as being injured).
Ritchie is practicing as normal and ready to go after dealing with his lingering infection, but Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, opted not to replace anyone in his lineup in favor of the winger.
Meanwhile, John Moore, made his season debut against Chicago after missing the first 28 games this season due to offseason shoulder surgery.
Moore had one assist in one game with the Providence Bruins (AHL) in his conditioning stint on Sunday. He was placed on the left side of the third defensive pairing alongside Matt Grzelcyk, while Connor Clifton served as a healthy scratch.
Once more, Cassidy elected to keep Brad Marchand with Charlie Coyle and Danton Heinen on the “first line”, while Jake DeBrusk, Krejci and David Pastrnak made up the “second line”.
Cassidy left his bottom six forwards untouched from Tuesday night’s action against Carolina.
Steven Kampfer joined Clifton as Boston’s only healthy scratches on Thursday.
Less than a minute into the action, Patrick Kane hooked Marchand on a scoring chance 33 seconds into the first period.
Boston did not score on the ensuing power play, but got another chance on the skater advantage at 16:35, when Anton Wedin tripped Coyle.
Despite being shorthanded, the Blackhawks found a way to make the most of being down a skater by scoring a goal on the penalty kill.
Ryan Carpenter (1) pocketed a rebound off of an initial shout from the point by Connor Murphy after the Hawks caught Charlie McAvoy playing catchup since the Bruins defender blew a chance in Boston’s offensive zone seconds prior.
Murphy (1) had the only assist on Carpenter’s goal at 18:14 of the first period and Chicago jumped out to the, 1-0, lead with Boston’s first shorthanded goal against this season.
Less than a minute later, Pastrnak lifted Dennis Gilbert’s stick out of Gilbert’s hands while the Blackhawks skater didn’t have the puck and was charged with an interference infraction at 18:41.
Chicago only needed 10 seconds on the power play to let Dylan Strome (6) go undetected and tip-in a goal from point blank in front of Rask, giving the Blackhawks two goals in a span of 27 seconds.
Erik Gustafsson (7) and Kane (20) notched the assists on Strome’s goal and Chicago led, 2-0, at 18:51.
After one period, the Blackhawks held the advantage on the scoreboard, 2-0, while trailing the Bruins in shots on goal, 12-8.
Boston held the advantage in hits (9-8) and faceoff win percentage (60-40), while Chicago led in blocked shots (8-1), takeaways (5-3) and giveaways (4-2).
The Blackhawks were 1/1 on the power play heading into the first intermission and the B’s were 0/2 on the skater advantage.
Chicago kicked things off with a bench minor for too many skaters on the ice 53 seconds into the second period, resulting in the third power play of the night for Boston.
Ironically, the Bruins weren’t able to do anything with the skater advantage as a result of Chicago’s illegal skater advantage.
After serving the Blackhawks’ bench minor, Alexander Nylander cut a rut back to the penalty box for catching Boston defender, McAvoy, with a high stick at 10:35 of the second period.
Boston didn’t capitalize on their fourth power play of the game.
Seconds after finishing their power play, the Bruins found themselves going on the penalty kill after Pastrnak retaliated in front of the Chicago net and received a roughing minor against Murphy at 12:58.
The Blackhawks did not score on their second skater advantage of the night and held the, 2-0, lead after 40 minutes of play.
Despite having a, 12-10, advantage in shots on goal in the second period alone, Chicago trailed Boston in shots on net after two periods, 22-20.
The Bruins held the advantage in giveaways (12-6), hits (20-18) and faceoff win% (59-41), but the Blackhawks led in blocked shots (15-6) and takeaways (10-8) entering the third period.
Chicago was 1/2 on the power play, while the B’s were 0/4.
Things went from bad to worse before they got better (then finally worse again) for the Bruins as Alex DeBrincat (6) shot the puck off the post on the short side over Rask’s blocker, giving the Blackhawks a, 3-0, lead 17 seconds into the third period.
Strome (13) and Calvin de Haan (4) had the assists on DeBrincat’s goal off the opening faceoff for the final frame of regulation.
Chicago’s three-goal lead marked the first time this season that Boston trailed by three goals.
Former Blackhawk, Joakim Nordstrom (3) got the B’s on the scoreboard with his first goal in 11 games after David Backes generated a rebound off of Lehner’s leg pad that Nordstrom pocketed into the twine to cut Chicago’s lead to two goals.
Backes (2) and McAvoy (9) had the assists on Nordstrom’s goal at 1:49 of the third period and the Blackhawks led, 3-1.
Midway through the third period, after Zack Smith launched high into Pastrnak along the glass, Moore immediately stepped in and dropped the gloves with the Chicago forward.
In what was just the 5th fight this season for Boston, Moore was toppled quickly by Smith at 11:46 and headed down the tunnel before returning moments later.
Less than two minutes later, Coyle was penalized for roughing against Slater Koekkoek at 13:40, but the Blackhawks couldn’t muster a power play goal and instead gave up a shorthanded goal against when Chris Wagner (2) skated in on a breakaway and fired a shot past Lehner for his first goal in 17 games.
Sean Kuraly (8) and Grzelcyk (7) notched the assists on Wagner’s goal at 15:01 and the Bruins trailed, 3-2.
Not to be outdone in the quick back-to-back goal scoring department, Boston rallied to tie the game, 3-3, with two goals in a span of 2:26 after Torey Krug (4) skated into the slot and squeaked a shot through Lehner’s seven-hole at 17:27.
DeBrusk (7) recorded the only assist on the goal as the Bruins tied the game and kept their no regulation losses on home ice this season streak alive.
After 60 minutes of hockey, the score was tied, 3-3, and the Bruins were leading in shots on goal, 40-30.
Boston also held the advantage in third period shots on net alone (18-10), as well as in giveaways (16-9) and hits (30-24), while Chicago led in blocked shots (18-10), takeaways (14-10) and faceoff win% (51-49).
As there were no penalties called in the overtime period, the Blackhawks finished the night 1/3 on the skater advantage and the Bruins went 0/4 on the power play.
After Cassidy started Krejci, Pastrnak and Krug, Chicago’s head coach, Jeremy Colliton, countered with Toews, Kane and Murphy.
Less than a minute into overtime, Toews (5) ensured Pastrnak wouldn’t get the puck in Chicago’s defensive zone and generated his own breakaway down the open ice, stickhandling and scoring on Rask’s five-hole to win the game, 4-3, in overtime.
Murphy (2) had the only assist on Toews’ goal 54 seconds into the extra frame, yielding the only shot on goal in the overtime period.
Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal (40-31), giveaways (16-9) and hits (30-25), while Chicago left the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with the overtime win and the advantage in blocked shots (18-10), as well as faceoff win% (52-48).
The Blackhawks improved to 3-2 in overtime this season, while the Bruins faltered to 2-2 in the extra period.
Chicago also improved to 10-2-3 when scoring first this season and the B’s fell to 4-2-3 when trailing after two periods.
Boston concludes their current five-game homestand (3-0-1) on Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche. The B’s then begin a four-game road trip in Ottawa on Monday.