Even though the Bruins’ winning streak is over, their point streak remains intact, and this fact is still true:
At TD Garden, no enemy lead is safe.
Rising from their slumber with three unanswered goals in the third period, the Bruins brought the Blackhawks to overtime, but lost, 4-3, on a Jonathan Toews breakaway goal.
They kept their home point streak alive (12-0-5) with some late magic, including the tying goal by Torey Krug with 2:33 left in regulation. But the building soured after a streaking Toews went five-hole on Tuukka Rask, 54 seconds into OT. The Chicago captain was 2-on-0 with Patrick Kane after upending David Pastrnak, who had the puck in the offensive zone.
A smattering of plastic bottles and cups flew from the rafters, and Zdeno Chara had an extended discussion with officials, all in Black and Gold believing Toews tripped Pastrnak. But coach Bruce Cassidy wasn’t convinced.
“That’s one of those judgment calls made quick,” he said. “They didn’t make it . . . You get some of those some nights. You don’t other nights.”
It was another one of those nights for the Bruins (20-3-6), who stumbled and fumbled their way through the first 40 minutes. They gave up goals to Ryan Carpenter and Dylan Strome in a 37-second span near the end of the second period, and have allowed the first goal in six of their last eight games. The good news: they have fallen behind, 2-0, five times this year, and taken points each time (2-0-3).
“Not a recipe for success,” said David Backes, who set up Joakim Nordstrom’s rebound goal at 1:49 of the third. “We showed some great character, and found a way to get one point of it.”
Nordstrom scored to answer Alex DeBrincat, who sniped on Rask (four goals on 31 shots) some 17 seconds into the third period. That saddled the Bruins with their first 3-0 deficit of the season.
Another first: Boston went 0 for 4 on the power play for the first time all year. It was their worst performance on the man-advantage. The visitors even took penalties in the first minute of both the first and second periods, but the Bruins couldn’t make good on the fast, fresh ice.
Last year’s Vezina Trophy finalist, Robin Lehner, played like one. The Bruins peppered him with 40 pucks, and he made 10 of his 37 saves on the penalty kill. His teammates blocked 18 Bruins tries.
Boston went five games and 15 PKs without allowing a power play goal, but ended that streak with 1:09 left in the first period. With Pastrnak in the box for interference, defensemen Zdeno Chara and Brandon Carlo playing out high, Strome was all alone to tip a point shot past Rask.
The Bruins fell down, 1-0, after another special teams gaffe. Working the power play point, Charlie McAvoy had David Krejci open in the left circle, stick raised for a one-timer. But McAvoy whiffed on the pass, and Ryan Carpenter raced the other way. Rask blockered aside Connor Murphy’s shot on the rush, but when the rebound jumped over McAvoy’s stick, Carpenter dunked the rebound at 18:14 of the first. It was the first shorthanded goal allowed by the Bruins, who tied for the league-worst (15) last year.
The Bruins’ eight-game winning streak may be gone, but their 13-game point streak is still on. They pushed their edge to 15 points on second-place Florida in the Atlantic Division. They are also in the midst of a run of 11 games in 18 days, which was more apparent than any factor. They continue to hit the snooze button once the puck drops.
Chicago (11-12-5), which ended a three-game losing streak, came in with three points in their last seven games (1-5-1). Like other Bruins foes of late, they pestered Pastrnak. The league-leading goal-scorer, stuck on 25 after two scoreless games, took a game-high seven hits. One pop in particular, by Chicago fourth-liner Zack Smith, had defenseman John Moore dropping the gloves with Smith (despite playing his first game of the year after shoulder surgery).
“No, not at all,” said Pastrnak, when asked if he was frustrated. “It’s hockey. I don’t get frustrated unless we lose.”
He took two penalties, one of them a retaliatory roughing on defenseman Connor Murphy.
“The ref told me I started it,” Pastrnak said. “I got a cross-check right in the ribs. I’m going to push him back. It was probably a little stupid by me, but at the same time, tough luck. I don’t think I started it, but I’m going to push back.”
“Him and Marchy [Brad Marchand], they’re used to scoring,” Cassidy said. “These are high-end players and you want them to play their way out of it . . . Teams are just recognizing that these are the leading scorers in the league. You’ve got to pay a little more attention to them.”
Wagner scored a shorthanded goal with 4:59 remaining, beating Lehner glove side after backchecking defenseman Erik Gustafsson fell down at his own blue line. The Garden exploded when Krug cashed a feed out of the corner from Jake DeBrusk.
“It was ugly for the first 41 minutes, for sure,” Backes said. “Some character was shown tonight, but it wasn’t our best effort.”
More scenes from the game
Follow Matt Porter on Twitter at @mattyports