Everything you need to know from the Bruins’ 2-1 overtime loss to the Blue Jackets in quickie form, with BSJ insight and analysis:
Bruins OT struggles continue: The calendar might have flipped to 2020, but the Bruins’ struggles beyond regulation play in 2019 certainly haven’t been left behind.
For the second straight game and 11th time this season, the Bruins failed to secure two points in overtime or a shootout, dropping a 2-1 OT contest to the Blue Jackets on Thursday night. Entering the third period with a slim 1-0 lead, Boston was unable to hold off a depleted Columbus club — with a fortunate bounce allowing Sonny Milano to secure the equalizer just 2:06 into the frame.
With Columbus closing out the contest with 15 blocks, the B’s struggled to generate quality looks during 5v5 play, even with Charlie McAvoy, Torey Krug and David Krejci all returning from injury.
It only took 52 seconds for the Blue Jackets to end things in overtime, with Pierre-Luc Dubois cashing in on a 2-on-1 sequence with Seth Jones to hand Boston another loser point.
David Pastrnak secured Boston’s lone goal of the night with a power-play tally at 11:07 in the second period, while Tuukka Rask stopped 31 of the 33 shots that came his way in the loss.
The Bruins fall to 24-7-11 this season following Thursday’s defeat. For those wondering, the NHL record for most OT/shootout losses in a single season is just 18. The 2019-20 Bruins are well on their way to reaching that mark.
Coyle remaining in top-six: Postgame, Bruce Cassidy noted that Charlie Coyle will likely remain as a top-six winger for the time being, given Boston’s struggles to find another suitable replacement to slot in on David Krejci’s line.
The rationale is certainly there, at least when glancing at the production generated by Coyle and Krejci together during 5v5 play this season. In 102:16 of 5v5 TOI this season, the Bruins have outscored the competition, 6-1, when Krejci and Coyle have skated on the same line.
But on Thursday, that line (also featuring Jake DeBrusk) left a lot to be desired. In their 11:55 of 5v5 TOI, the Bruins were out-attempted by Columbus, 10-7, and didn't generate a high-danger scoring chance.
Coyle might be the best option for now on that second line, but the case remains: Boston needs another body (preferably a top-six winger) in order to get the proper pieces to fall into place up front.
David Pastrnak: With his power-play missile past Elvis Merzlikins in the second period, Pastrnak became the first player to reach the 30-goal mark this season. Pastrnak, now up to 60 points on the year, is the first Bruin to reach 30 goals in 42 games or fewer since Cam Neely scored 30 in 27 games during the 1993-94 season.
Brandon Carlo: He had a rare snafu in the neutral zone at one point during a Columbus counter-rush, but overall Carlo was pretty stout on the blue line, logging 21:55 of ice time, including 3:02 of PK duties. Along with Carlo’s strong defensive play, the Bruins held a 14-7 edge in shot attempts during the defenseman’s 18:52 of 5v5 TOI.
Second Line: As I noted above, it was a bit of an off night from a duo that has been pretty dynamite when skating together this year in Krejci and Coyle. They’re due to rebound, but Boston’s third line might be in line for more of regression with Par Lindholm now standing as the latest center to be given the keys to that grouping.
Sean Kuraly: It was a bit of a rough night for Kuraly, who likely going to be in the doghouse had a goal from Gustav Nyquist counted just 17 seconds into the game. Kuraly, who committed a brutal turnover just seconds prior to the tally, was bailed out when the Bruins successfully challenged for goaltender interference on the play.
PLAY OF THE GAME: “Mercy.” — Elvis Merzlikins, probably.
PARTING THOUGHTS: Seriously, guys. Just don’t do it.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Bruins will close out this short homestand when they host Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers for a matinee matchup at TD Garden on Saturday. Puck drop is set for 1 p.m.