The day after the trade deadline saw the Boston Bruins back home after a number of away games. And it was the first chance for a couple of the newly acquired players to play in front of the home crowd. Rick Nash had already donned the Spoked B; playing with the team in Buffalo on Sunday. For Tommy Wingels, warm ups was the first time he even spent any time on the ice with the team—having arrived in Boston a bit after 11 in the morning.
With the recent news about Patrice Bergeron’s fractures in his foot, slotting in and getting a good start was essential for the team. Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak had Riley Nash join them on the first line. Rick Nash slotted in on the right wing with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci. Wingels joined David Backes and Danton Heinen as their right wing.
The Bruins played host to the Carolina Hurricanes who are currently outside of a wildcard slot and fighting to get back in. However, their last few games have seen them unable to pull two points. In the previous ten games they had a 3-5-2 record, but their last five was 0-4-1. So it was obvious that they were going to come out hard and try to take the lead and keep it.
The Hurricanes got their first goal while on the power play when Brock McGinn, while on the power play, cleaned up an uncharacteristic rebound right out to the front of the crease. Playing behind becoming something the Bruins know too well, it was good to see them respond just one minute and forty seconds later when Rick Nash, who had an impressive save right at the goal line as well in the game, got the Bruins tied.
The Canes second goal of the game again came on the power play, with 2:40 remaining in a double minor given to David Pastrnak for a high stick on Joakim Nordstrom, as Teuvo Teravainen once again gave Carolina the lead. It looked like they would go into the first intermission with a two-goal lead off the stick of Sebastian Aho, with 56 seconds remaining on the clock of playing time, but 53 seconds after Aho’s goal, Wingels made a nice pass to Riley Nash, who put it past Carolina’s Scott Darling and in the net.
It was certainly not the Bruins finest opening period, but they came back within one goal, which helped negate the psychological effects of Aho’s goal. And perhaps the Bruins staying out of the penalty box during the second and third may have contributed also.
“Riley Nash has a big goal for us, and Wingels started that play by, as advertised, good forechecker, puck-pursuit guy, and then he finished a nice play as well later,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said postgame.
The Bruins needed to play better in the second and third, which they appeared to do. And it was a bit more necessary because Rask seemed to be having an off night with some of his positioning. At 5:34 of the second period, Wingels added a goal—the nice play Coach Cassidy mentioned—to tie things up for the Bruins and give himself a two-point night. Some good jump for a player who didn’t even get to practice with the team in the morning skate.
Of course, then it became necessary for the Bruins to either get a go-ahead goal or at the very least not give up another one. They began to play smarter and better as the second and third periods went on, forcing the game to overtime. The overtime period didn’t last long as Riley Nash, with some strong play managed to get it headed in the Canes direction and Charlie McAvoy put it in the twine.
While there were some familiar names doing what they do for the Bruins, had it not been for the two new players, the game could have gone the other way, something that the Bruins need to put an end to.
“There’s really no time for adjustment. You just go out and play. At this point in the season, you don’t have time to feel your way into it, you have to be ready to go from the get go,” Wingels said of adjusting to the Bruins system.
In the case of the game on Tuesday night, it’s a good thing Wingels didn’t waste any time holding back as he adjusted. The game could have been a win for the Hurricanes without his smart play and the contribution of Rick Nash as well.