BOSTON - In case anyone needed more proof that things are not going the Bruins way, there was Boston's loss on Saturday night. Despite another solid effort, the Black & Gold found themselves on the wrong end of a number of awkward sequences, resulting in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Nashville Predators.
"I think there are opportunities in the game where you don't need to be in that position," said Patrice Bergeron, who potted two goals in the loss, including the tying tally with 1:05 remaining in regulation. "I think it was definitely the case tonight where there's a lot of play and intensity where we were getting looks and getting the chances, and at the end of the day you have to bear down and find a way. You can't wait until you're down a goal to get that tying goal all the time. Obviously, it's going to hurt you and it did tonight."
The setback was the Bruins' eighth in their last nine games and their third consecutive non-regulation loss. Boston now has nine losses in overtime or the shootout this season.
"A couple tough bounces," said David Pastrnak, who was named the captain of the Atlantic Division at the upcoming 2020 All-Star Weekend in St. Louis during the first intermission. "It's good for us that we've been able to come back and get that point and put ourselves in a good position to get out of one. [Have] to be better and try to extend a little bit in the third. We've been good in the third all season…today, there were just a couple tough bounces."
Video: Bruins react to 4-3 OT loss to Nashville
More notes and observations from the Bruins' OT loss to Nashville:
The bounces certainly did not go the Bruins' way on Saturday night as all four Nashville goals came via the fluky variety. The Preds tied the game midway through the second on a floating backhander by Roman Josi that beat Jaroslav Halak blocker side to make it 1-1.
Nashville then struck for two goals in 35 seconds in the third period to take a 3-2 lead. The first came on a delayed penalty with Filip Forsberg trickling one between Halak and the right post at 7:35. The Predators took advantage of another blunder when Halak left his net to race for a loose puck. Boston's netminder got to the puck first but couldn't clear it by Josi, leaving the Nashville captain an open net for his second of the game.
"I never question [his decision], he's been in the NHL a long time," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. "He made some good saves, but, listen, I've tried to be honest up here. I believe we have two No. 1s in there, but those were three goals that were very saveable - pucks that probably shouldn't end up in your net. A little bit of that is our goaltenders have to push through that right now."
It was a crushing sequence for the Bruins, who had carried the play for much of the period, leading to a rare timeout from Cassidy, mostly to give Halak a moment to collect himself.
"I wanted to make sure Jaro came over because there were two quick goals that were kind of… however you want to describe them," said Cassidy. "I wanted to make sure that he kept his head in the game because we're still only one shot away, there's 12 minutes [left]. That was first and foremost, address that. Then…I thought we were playing well to start the third. Again, playing the right way, had some chances at the start of the period to extend the lead.
"I think our guys are sick of losing, to be honest with you. I think they were going to push no matter what, but we just wanted to make sure we just took a deep breath. Those are tough calls because we knew there was a game timeout coming and you want to save it, but I just felt that maybe we need to reset."
On Nashville's overtime tally, the Bruins were once again on the wrong side of a bad bounce as an errant pass hit off of the referee behind the Boston net. If the feed hadn't struck the official, the Bruins likely would have taken control of the puck, but instead it bounced right back to Ryan Johansen, who fed Ryan Ellis for the winner.
"I mean you look at it - we shouldn't have gone into the pile [at the start of the rush]," said Cassidy. [Brad Marchand] originally, he got caught, but on the way back, that puck is coming around the boards and hits the ref. Who knows, I might be talking about having a nice play to win the game because we're going the other way and they're stuck, but not the way it worked out."
Video: BOS Recap: Bergeron scores twice in 4-3 OT loss
Bergy Comes Through
Boston did settle back in and eventually found the equalizer with Halak on the bench for an extra attacker. After Nashville hit the side of the empty cage, the Bruins capitalized on their second life with Bergeron connecting for his second of the game by redirecting a Pastrnak shot by Pekka Rinne with 1:05 to go.
"I think we had the better of the play early in the third…that's the type of hockey you want to play," said Bergeron. "I think it's about stayin even keeled and bouncing back after a tough shift or whatever it is and be there for one another and just go through that and find a way."
Even with their recent struggles, Bergeron said he is not concerned about the team's attitude or confidence.
"You can't just enjoy when things are good, and when things are bad just jump ship. That's just too easy," said Bergeron. "I've said that before. It's a long season. Hopefully these things make you stronger and that's when you have to be behind each other and support each other and find ways. I wouldn't want to do it with a different group."
Video: NSH@BOS: Bergeron pots game-tying redirection
Fourth Line Delivers
Cassidy made some tweaks to the fourth line, subbing in Par Lindholm and Brett Ritchie for Joakim Nordstrom and David Backes. The move paid off as the trio - which included Sean Kuraly - connected for the game's opening goal, perhaps Boston's only fortunate bounce of the evening.
After Ritchie fired a wrister off of Rinne's pad, the puck bounced out to Lindholm who tapped it as he was taken down by Kyle Turris. Lindholm tumbled into the net, taking the puck with him for a 1-0 Bruins lead at 7:30 of the second.
"They gave us lots of energy; they played a simple game," said Cassidy. "They scored a goal. It's scruffy, but it's a puck to the net. They win a puck in the neutral zone…you're not going to get rewarded like that every night, but if you play simple and straight lines, then as a staff, you tend to want to use those guys more because they're playing the right way, so good for them.
"Lindy [Par Lindholm] and [Brett] Ritchie hadn't played in a while, so obviously they're trying to make a statement that they want to stay in the lineup, and we're pleased with their effort."
Video: NSH@BOS: Lindholm nets fortuitous tally off defender