SUNRISE, Fla. - If it weren't for the blistering shot of Torey Krug, the Bruins might have been in trouble on Thursday night.
Without their best as they closed out their swing through the Sunshine State, the Bruins needed a bit of a boost, and they got it courtesy of their dynamic D-man.
After Patrice Bergeron tipped home his long-distance wrister to tie the game in the second period, Krug won it for Boston with a blast from the high slot with 52 seconds remaining in overtime, the B's 2-1 triumph marking their fourth consecutive victory.
"He's obviously a huge part of our offense," said Brad Marchand. "You saw it there in overtime and on the power play, he's just so versatile back there, makes so many plays…he just puts himself in good positions to get shots on net and makes things happen back there."
Just before the winner, Krug and David Pastrnak had a 2-on-1, but the puck trickled off of the Krug's stick and into the corner. Pastrnak won a battle for the loose puck and zipped a feed to Krug, who collected it at the top of the right circle and drifted into the high slot where he unleashed a slapper that beat Florida goalie Chris Driedger cleanly through traffic.
"He made a real good play on the 2-on-1 to fake everybody out…he's scored now twice in overtime for us," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, whose club improved to 6-5 in overtime this season. "In open ice he can make plays, he's got a good shot. On the power play, he usually makes the right decision…that's where he excels. He happened to find it right in his wheelhouse."
Video: BOS@FLA: Krug hammers home slap shot for OT winner
Without partner Brandon Carlo - who left midway through the middle period with an upper-body injury after taking an elbow from Evgenii Dadonov - for the second half of the game, Krug still managed to land a game-high five shots on goal in 22:12 of ice time.
"That's what we focus on," said Krug. "We're trying to bring our A game every night. If you don't have it then you have to live with your B game and live with the results. Obviously if we can win with that game, then it's the sign of a really good team. We got the win and we move on."
Saving the Day
Krug's winner would not have been possible without the efforts of Jaroslav Halak, who made 32 saves, none more important than his breakaway stop of Aleksander Barkov with just over three minutes to play in the extra session. With David Krejci's backcheck applying some pressure on Barkov, Halak stood his ground and calmly turned away the attempt with his glove.
"I knew who it was," said Halak. "He's one of the best in the league on breakaways. I just tried to stay with him, not make the first move. I don't know who was backchecking on that one, but he did a good job trying to get him and didn't give him time to make any moves."
Halak led what was another stellar defensive effort by the Black & Gold, who have allowed just two goals over their last three games.
"You look at this trip, if you count the New York [Islanders] game…that's two goals against in three games," said Cassidy. "Doesn't matter which [goalie] is in…good for Jaro. It looked like he had a hiccup there a couple weeks back and it wasn't going as smooth as he would like. But he seems to have found his game."
Video: BOS@FLA: Halak shuts the door on Barkov in OT
Hitting His Mark
Bergeron's second-period, power-play tally secured his third straight 30-goal campaign and the sixth of his career. He is just the sixth Bruin to accomplish that feat, joining Phil Esposito, Rick Middleton, Johnny Bucyk, Cam Neely, and Peter McNab.
"It's impressive to score 30 any year, especially a guy that takes so much pride in getting back there," said Cassidy. "The power play's obviously helped him. He's worked hard on his play in the bumper there and it shows. His tipping, his shot, his release, everything there.
"Plays with two good players. Marchy's right around the corner too from that. A dangerous line, they all can shoot the puck…proud of him."
Five of Bergeron's 30-goal seasons have come since 2013-14, including four of the last five years. His career high of 32 goals was set last season in just 65 games.
"He's an impressive player," said Marchand, who assisted on Bergeron's tally, extending his point streak to 10 games. "He's just the perfect example of consistency. Every year he competes hard, he's dangerous around the net, gets to the dirty areas. He gets rewarded for it. Very happy for him, especially missing some time. It's not easy. When he's scoring 30 and he's the best defensive forward in the league, it's impressive."
Video: BOS@FLA: Bergeron deflects home Krug's shot for PPG
Bergeron's power-play goal came just 14 seconds into Boston's man advantage which was the result of an elbow by Dadonov to Carlo's head. As Dadonov played the puck in the corner, his elbow launched into Carlo's chin, sending the defenseman to the ice.
Carlo was down for a moment but skated off under his own power. He did not return because of what the club termed as an upper-body injury.
"We'll have a better idea in the morning if it's something more serious like a concussion. But right now, we just don't know," said Cassidy.
Boston's bench boss was pleased with his team's response to playing with five defensemen, a practice they have become quite familiar with in recent years.
"Us losing Carlo hurts our ability to keep plays alive in the O-zone…you're down to five guys. He's very good at that," said Cassidy. "A guy that kills a lot…I think we lost a bit of our game when he went out. But I give our D credit, they did a good job, played a lot of minutes.
"It was a harder hockey game. A little more chip and chase, going back and getting hit on pucks. Good for them…I didn't love our game. But I loved the fact that we stayed in the game and gave us a chance to win."
Ondrej Kase left the game briefly midway through the first period after a collision with Dadonov at center ice. Kase did not appear to see Dadonov before their legs collided but was nonetheless assessed a tripping penalty.
The newly acquired winger had trouble putting weight on his right leg and needed assistance getting to the Bruins dressing room. Fortunately for the Bruins, he returned after only a few shifts. Following the game, Cassidy said that it was only a "Charlie horse" to Kase's thigh.
Video: Cassidy meets with media after Thursday night win
On the Board
Part of the reason Don Sweeney acquired Nick Ritchie at the trade deadline was to beef up Boston's middle six. The 24-year-old's 6-foot-2, 230-pound frame has certainly done that, and on Thursday night he showed he's not afraid to mix it up, either.
After a battle with Riley Stillman late in the opening period, Ritchie dropped the gloves for his first fight in Black & Gold - and his first bout overall since March 2018.
"It was a decent time to fight," said Ritchie. "We came out a little flat, didn't have our best stuff…I don't think you want to just go out and fight guys all the time. I thought it was a decent time to try to get the guys in the game and I think they enjoyed it."
Video: Ritchie talks to media after overtime win