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Bruins Dominate Oilers, But Can't Complete Comeback

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

BOSTON — The Bruins should have had two points on Monday night at TD Garden.

The way they controlled the game for most of the night — and put 49 shots on net — more than two goals should have made their way past the Edmonton netminder Cam Talbot.

The end result for the Black & Gold, though, was a 3-2 loss in overtime to give the Oilers their sixth straight win.

Brad Marchand’s night served as a microcosm of Boston’s night as a whole. He started the game with a prime scoring chance just 44 seconds into the first that Talbot held, and then he tied the game at 2-2 with 4:38 left in the regulation to force extra time when his ninth shot on goal finally went in.

But the Bruins couldn’t translate their domination — and determination — onto the scoresheet in the column that mattered the most.

“The bottom line is we fell into a 2-0 hole early on,” Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said postgame. “They got a couple of good breaks there, and we had to fight our way back.”

“They had a good goaltender. I thought we played well enough to win the game, and, you know, unfortunately some of those nights don’t always go your way, so we come out with one [point] when we should have come out with two.”

Boston started the game outshooting the Oilers 7-1. An early power play put the visiting team further on their heels.

But Edmonton was opportunistic. After Matt Beleskey blocked a shot from Eric Gryba, his follow-up attempt went off the end boards. Jordan Eberle grabbed the loose puck and roofed it over Jonas Gustavsson’s blocker from the goal line at 8:29 into the first to make it 1-0. The goal marked the Oilers’ fourth shot on net.

Just 5:29 later, the Oilers went up 2-0. Zdeno Chara lost an edge in the right corner going to retrieve a puck. Eberle quickly took advantage and fed Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, whose first shot was blocked by Adam McQuaid before his second got past Gustavsson.

Gustavsson wouldn’t see much rubber the rest of the game, making three stops in the second and seven in the third. The Oilers’ second shot of overtime from Andrej Sekera made it through for the 3-2 win.

“It doesn’t matter if you have a lot of shots or not — you always want to win the game,” said Gustavsson, who made 21 saves on 24 shots. “I thought we played really well and we could have easily won the game.”

Falling down by two goals isn’t necessarily new territory for the Bruins. They have fought their way back in games this season. They never give up.

They stole two points with a 3-1 comeback win Montreal last Wednesday. They wouldn’t have stolen two on Monday night — they would have earned and even deserved them.

“We have won games this year that we definitely didn’t deserve to win and this was one of those ones that we probably should have won,” said Marchand. “I think after the first period we controlled that game and if you look at all the stats, I think it shows that.”

“It’s unfortunate their goalie made a lot of big saves and we didn’t do a great job of getting in front, but we still probably should have won.”

Altogether, the Bruins sent 79 shot attempts towards Talbot, with 49 hitting the net, 16 attempts blocked and 14 missing the mark. Marchand alone had nine shots on goal (10 attempts), Patrice Bergeron had six shots on goal (9 attempts) and Matt Beleskey ended the night with six shots on goal (12 attempts).

One of Beleskey’s squeezed past Talbot at 13:29 into the second period to narrow the Bruins’ deficit to 2-1, with plenty of steam to continue their comeback.

Being forced into the trapezoid from the goal line, Beleskey tried to jam the puck towards the net. It went off Edmonton defenseman Darnell Nurse’s skate and trickled past Talbot’s left pad.

The Bruins went on to outshoot Edmonton 18-3 in the second period alone, not allowing an Oilers shot until 3:22 left in the period.

The Black & Gold followed that up with a 20-7 shots advantage in the third, but they never got frustrated. They maintained control. They kept applying pressure and working pucks down low.

“There was no frustration at all,” said Julien. “I think it was disappointing that we fell behind 2-0 early when the first 10 minutes, it was 7-1 shots on net, so I think we were the dominant team.”

“I think the biggest thing was that, you know, they got a couple of good breaks and took advantage of those and we had to fight back, but their goaltender stood tall.”

“We just kept going after them and found a way to get ourselves back into the game and get ourselves at least a point, but there was no frustration throughout the whole game — just determination.”

With less than five minutes to go in regulation, Marchand ripped one by Talbot after being set up by Landon Ferraro and Bergeron. Julien slotted Ferraro — who was having a strong night — into Brett Connolly’s spot on that line to give it more speed on the forecheck. It paid off.

“I think that we are starting to learn how to play in games like this and realize that we can come back from a couple goal deficit,” said Marchand of yet another comeback performance, though this one didn’t necessarily have the feel of a rally, given the Bruins’ dominance. “And we just seem to have a bit of a calming presence on the bench and in the room.”

“Guys are stepping up at the right time and speaking and saying what needs to be said in calming guys down. So I think especially with how we have started to play, we knew that if we continued to get pucks in deep and work them low, we were going to get some goals and luckily we did.”

To start overtime, Julien put Ferraro, Ryan Spooner and Torey Krug out on the ice, given that the top players had just played the last three minutes of the third to try and keep the Oilers on their heels.

“I was hoping to at least get a shift out of those guys and come back with our players, but we didn’t handle that very well,” said Julien.

The Bruins did handle the rest of the game well — except for finding more ways past Talbot.

“I think we definitely gave up a point here that we really would have liked to have,” said Marchand. “At the same time, we have to be happy that we came back from two goals again. [But] we shouldn’t have been in that position, so definitely still work to do.”

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