BOSTON - Jaroslav Halak shined in a 42-save performance and Charlie Coyle and David Pastrnak scored, but the Bruins fell to the Washington Capitals, 3-2, in a shootout on Saturday night at TD Garden. Boston led, 2-1, into the final minute, but a failed clear with Washington's net empty led to the tying tally by T.J. Oshie with 58.6 seconds on the clock, sending things to overtime. The Caps went on to close it out in the fifth round of the shootout on a Jakub Vrana tally.
"You want 2 points. You take all the points you can get, but we want to be able to shut the door there when you have the lead like that, that late in the game," said Coyle. "Especially for your goaltenders, [Halak] played so well...you want to end things on a good note for him. He kept us in the game.
"It's tough to get points in this league, it is, but when we're on top like that we've got to be able to come away with 2. I think that's the mindset we got to have."
Here are some other news and observations from the loss:
Halak Stands Tall
The Bruins would have been in far worse shape on Saturday night if not for the efforts of Halak, who made a number of Grade-A stops throughout the night, including shutting down Vrana on a point-blank chance with just over a minute to play in overtime.
"He was the best player on the ice and he deserved better," said McAvoy. "He made some highlight-reel saves and he kept us in the game and gave us a chance. I really wish we could have won that one for him."
"He didn't deserve a loss like that, he played great," added Coyle, who potted his second goal in two games to put Boston up, 1-0, at 11:32 of the first period. "He came out huge early on - I mean, the whole game really.
"But when they had their pushes and we kind of broke down defensively in our own zone, just pucks coming through and him shutting the doors, that's what kept us in the lead, kept us in the game. He was great for us."
Video: WSH@BOS: Halak stretches out to deny Ovechkin
Shootout Woes Continue
The Bruins fell to 0-4 in shootouts this season, including three such losses in the last four games. Coyle led off with a goal to give Boston a rare lead in the shootout and has both of Boston's shootout markers this season. As a team, the Bruins are 2 for 16.
"Definitely, it hasn't been our strength," said Pastrnak, who was denied in the shootout, but potted his 17th goal of the season to put the Bruins up, 2-1, at 3:30 of the second period. "We weren't able to pull the win out…it sucks, obviously. Don't know, shootouts are usually 50-50 and it's probably 20-80 [right now]."
Video: BOS Recap: Coyle, Pastrnak score in shootout loss
McAvoy Shines in Loss
Aside from Halak, McAvoy was, perhaps, the Bruins' best player on Saturday night. In addition to picking up two assists, the 21-year-old blue liner was a plus-1 in 23:23 of ice time, which was second only to Brad Marchand's 24:52.
"He was terrific tonight. Level of competition tends to bring out the best in Charlie, we certainly saw that tonight," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. "We needed it against a heavier group. I think he took the challenge head on…played a lot of minutes, and Charlie was real good in that way, both ends of the ice. I thought he was excellent.
"I thought tonight a lot of it fell into place. He was up the ice at the right time, defending at the right time, not being vulnerable to a serious counterattack from a team that can finish. He wasn't putting himself in bad spots. I thought that was the best part.
"As much as he was involved in the game, there wasn't much risk. That's a sign of a guy that's growing."
Video: Cassidy Talks to the Media After a 3-2 SO Loss to WSH
Bergeron Sits Out
Patrice Bergeron was a surprise scratch with a lower-body injury suffered on Friday night in Toronto. Cassidy, saying the team was being cautious with its No. 1 center, surmised that had the Bruins not been tasked with a back-to-back Bergeron would have been able to suit up.
"He finished the game last night, we don't want it to linger," said Cassidy. "I'm not gonna say it's new, old, or somewhere in between…he was in a little bit of discomfort. If it wasn't a back-to-back, we'd hope he'd play the next game. Because it's back-to-back, we want to be careful. We don't want him missing four or five games or something worse."
With Bergeron out, David Krejci (assist) centered Pastrnak and Marchand. Paul Carey was also recalled from Providence and suited up for his 100th career NHL game, but played just 6:22.
DeBrusk, Krug Skate
In other injury news, Jake DeBrusk, Torey Krug, Brett Ritchie, and John Moore skated on Saturday morning at Warrior Ice Arena. David Backes, Kevan Miller, Karson Kuhlman, and Zach Senyshyn remained off the ice. Ritchie appears to be the closest to a return and could practice in full with the team on Monday morning.
"It's not ideal but it happens," Coyle said of the team's injuries. "Things like that happen throughout the year, it's how you adjust to it. We have lot of guys out, but I think we have depth, guys who can come in, guys we call up and can play a role.
"They're a tough team and we want a guy like Patrice in the lineup - every guy helps. I mean, they all play a small part and sometimes it's tough to adjust to that but that's what we have to do in this league."
Video: Bruins Speak After Picking Up a Point Against WSH