The Bruins and Devils went to overtime again on Saturday, but this time it was New Jersey picking up the extra point, as Yegor Sharangovich scored the winner with 1.7 seconds remaining.
Here are three key takeaways from the game:
Message sent in opening minute
Gone are the days of the Big Bad Bruins, and the departure of Zdeno Chara in the offseason meant the loss of the biggest, baddest Bruin of them all.
It makes sense for this development to inspire opponents to test out Boston’s toughness. Miles Wood and the Devils were happy to do just that. Not once, but twice the power forward made contact with Tuukka Rask Thursday night, crashing hard into the net.
Bruce Cassidy certainly took notice and made sure his Bruins answered the bell right away on Saturday afternoon.
Twenty seconds into the first period, Kevan Miller and Wood dropped the gloves and settled the score.
During the first intermission, Wood commented on the Bruins defenseman standing up for his goaltender.
“I respect Kevan. I probably would’ve done the same thing if our goalie got hit a few times. It is what it is, and that’s hockey sometimes.”
Hopefully, that respect for Miller extends to other agitators who may try to take liberties with the Bruins.
Even strength offensive struggles continue
The Bruins desperately miss the presence of David Pastrnak. However, even when Pastrnak returns to the lineup, he isn’t going to magically fix all of their offensive woes.
It’s only two games into the season and already we're seeing the same passive play from too many of the same players.
When Trent Frederic and Nick Ritchie are two of the more noticeable forwards at even strength, it’s not an encouraging sign for the rest of the forward group.
Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron are still finding their game without Pastrnak but are at least producing on special teams.
Though David Krejci, Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith have been mediocre, you would hope they'll improve quickly.
Jake DeBrusk, Anders Bjork, Sean Kuraly, Ondrej Kase (before being injured) and Chris Wagner have been invisible.
DeBrusk has been noticeably disappointing. No, not because he isn’t scoring, but because he isn’t moving his feet.
It’s no mystery why the team is struggling to generate scoring chances. Lack of forechecking pressure and net drive are two main reasons.
What do forechecking and net drive have in common? They involve effort. I’ll never criticize a player or team for lack of execution, as long as there’s effort. However, when it’s obvious that one or more players are going through the motions, at the professional level, then I have no issue pointing that out.
Until the Bruins stop playing with complacency, they will continue to struggle scoring.
Oh, and by the way, the Devils are the least imposing team the Bruins will play all season.
Dynamic goaltending duo
Jaroslav Halak may not have played quite well enough to bail the Bruins out in their second of back-to-back games in New Jersey, but he gave them every chance to win.
As strong as Tuukka Rask played in the latter half of the team’s season opener, he wasn’t challenged nearly as often as Halak was Saturday afternoon.
The Bruins sleep-walked through the better portion of the first two periods on Saturday and Halak kept them in the game.
Even after the Bruins found their legs, Halak had to come up with numerous point blank saves for the Bruins to salvage one point in the standings.
Despite getting beat just before the conclusion of overtime, it was indeed yet another breakaway, which should never be held against a goalie.
Even in defeat, Halak exemplified just how important it is to have a reliable backup goalie. The ability to have confidence and dependability in Halak will be a recurring theme this season as the Bruins continue their unique and condensed schedule.