BOSTON - At this point, there isn't much reason to doubt the Bruins in any scenario.
The sample size has grown with each passing game, as Boston continues to show its character and determination no matter how much adversity they may face. On Thursday night against the Chicago Blackhawks, their challenge was a three-goal, third-period deficit - which they brushed away with ease.
The Bruins surged back with three unanswered in the final frame to force overtime and extend their point streak to 13 games, though Chicago connected in the opening minute of the extra session to hand Boston a 4-3 defeat and snap its eight-game win streak.
"The third period we played like we can, and it felt amazing," said David Pastrnak. "Every single line was going after it and we just kept rolling. All of a sudden, we came back. It shows how strong as a group we are…it was amazing. Too bad we weren't able to pull the two points, but that's a hell of a one point for us."
Pastrnak - and his team - was not pleased, however, with the way overtime transpired as Jonathan Toews connected on a breakaway just 54 seconds into the extra session after a non-call left Chicago with a 3-on-0. As Pastrnak carried the puck high in Chicago's end, Toews whacked the winger across the mid-section with his stick, knocking him to the ice and freeing the puck for the winning rush.
"I think it was a penalty," said Pastrnak. "I mean, I had a free lane to the net - either have a breakaway or 2-on-1 with [David] Krejci, so I think that should be a call."
"Listen, that's one of those judgement calls made quick, they didn't make it," added Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. "Worked against us…I think you get some of those some nights, you don't other nights. It didn't go our way on that one."
Video: BOS Recap: Krug, Bruins rally, fall short in OT loss
Bottom Six Delivers
In what was an unusually quiet night for the Boston's top guns, the Bruins received a spark from their bottom six, as they delivered the first two goals of the comeback to pull the Bruins back in the game.
Joakim Nordstrom started it off just 1:49 into the third - and only 1:32 after Chicago made it 3-0 - when he whacked home a rebound off a David Backes wrister for his third of the year. It took almost 15 minutes for the Bruins to find another tally, but they pulled within one when Chris Wagner connected on a shorthanded breakaway with a wrister by the glove of Chicago goalie Robin Lehner with 4:59 to play.
"When Wags has had some space like he did tonight, he can certainly beat a goalie," said Cassidy. "He's shown that on breakaways over the course of his two years here. He's made some nice moves when he's in all alone…Nordy had the same thing. You get one and all of a sudden you start feeling better about yourself."
Krug finished off the comeback with 2:33 remaining in regulation when he creeped in from the point and whacked home a Jake DeBrusk feed to knot the game at 3.
"Eventually, [playing from behind] is gonna catch up to us, right?" said Krug, whose tally was his fourth of the season. "We've got to do a better job…but we did a great job battling back."
Video: CHI@BOS: Krug ties the game late with quick shot
Moore Steps Up
John Moore had not played in an NHL game in six months, but when he saw Pastrnak driven into the boards by Zack Smith midway through the third period, he knew he had to react. It was, however, a risky decision, as the blue liner immediately retreated to the dressing room to check on his surgically repaired left shoulder.
Fortunately, Moore was not injured and returned to serve his five-minute major after being evaluated by the B's medical staff.
"I didn't like the hit, and I saw it and thought it had to be addressed," said Moore. "Maybe in my first game after shoulder surgery it's not the best time. But it's just the way I am…the heart always sinks a little, but the doctors checked me out right away and I was so happy for them to say that I was good to go."
The 29-year-old, who skated alongside Matt Grzelcyk on Boston's third pair, finished the night with three shots on goal, two blocked shots, and three hits in 16:11 of ice time.
"I knew I wouldn't need any other motivation to get up for this game," said Moore. "If anything, I wanted to make sure I was calming myself down. But when you take almost 30 games watching, you really have a lot of time to reflect and appreciate being a Boston Bruin and play in the NHL and it is not something I take for granted."
Following the game, Pastrnak made sure to express his appreciation for Moore's willingness to defend him.
"I don't even know what to say," said Pastrnak. "Hopefully he's all right. It's so good to have him back. He's such a nice guy to be around and we all love him. So, obviously, give him a tap and thank him for coming for me, but obviously I would not have him [fight] - he just got back.
"He's a tough kid. It's tough to battle against him every practice, so that's the way he plays. And like I said, it's obviously nice to have him back."
Video: Moore Stands Up For Pastrnak vs. CHI
Pastrnak A Target
As the NHL's leading goal scorer, Pastrnak has increasingly become a target of opposing teams in recent games as they try to knock the winger off his game. That approach continued on Thursday night, as evidenced by Smith's heavy hit in the third, though Pastrnak does not appear to be concerned.
"Oh no, not at all. It's hockey," Pastrnak said when asked if he's been frustrated. "I never really get frustrated anymore, obviously besides when we lose…it's hockey. All I'm frustrated about is that we lost."
Video: The Bruins Speak to Media After a 4-3 OT Loss