The Bruins lost another defenseman, a three-goal lead and then another one-goal third period lead in Edmonton.
But they refused to the lose the game.
After killing a penalty penalty in overtime, Charlie McAvoy beat Stuart Skinner on a terrific backhand goal to lift the B’s to an electric 6-5 win over Edmonton, snapping the Oilers’ eight-game home win streak.
“I just loved the way we kept forging ahead,” coach Jim Montgomery told reporters in Edmonton. “We didn’t worry about what happened, positively or negatively. i thought we continued to play. Obviously, they had a great push by a great team in the third period and it snowballed, but we went right back to work after that. When they made it 4-4, the next four minutes I thought we controlled the game…great for the fans.”
The B’s managed to beat one of the most explosive teams in the NHL on a night when their goalie, Jeremy Swayman (39 saves), was not at his best. But on an overtime penalty kill, Swayman came up with a huge glove save on Leon Draisaitl to give McAvoy the opportunity to win another game. This time he didn’t wait till the ninth round of the shootout like he did on Monday against Dallas, taking a Jake DeBrusk pass and going straight down the slot, toe-dragging it and beating Skinner on the backhander at 3:10 of OT.
Montgomery decided to break up his rotation and play Swayman in back-to-back games, partially to go with the hot hand. But he also did it with Linus Ullmark’s spectacular game in Calgary last season in mind. The B’s play the Flames on Thursday.
“(Swayman’s) game was kind of like our team’s game. Things are going really well, then they go not the way you want it,” said Montgomery. “His mental makeup is unreal. He just thinks he’s going to stop every puck, so he doesn’t worry about what just happened. He moves forward. That’s why he’s able to keep making saves.”
Rookie Mason Lohrei, recalled from Providence, stepped up to the occasion, recording three assists and four blocks in 23:32 of icetime.
“He was really good,” said Montgomery. “He played more direct, north, coming out the D-zone and at the offensive blue line under pressure. And then when he had time and space, I thought he was really good. Thought he was good on the power play as well.”
It was an eventful, crazy game from the first puck drop.
The first period started out very badly, then very well. Just 1:05 into the game, Ryan McLeod gave Matt Grzelcyk a two-handed chop on the top of his left foot, earning a tripping call. Grzelcyk needed help off the ice as he could not put any weight on the foot. He would surprisingly return to the bench late in the period but did not play again. That was not welcome news, considering they were already without Hampus Lindholm for the trip and possibly longer. While Lindholm is out “week-to-week,” Montgomery termed Grzelcyk as “day-to-day right now.”
On the power play, the B’s looked crisp as the first unit whipped the puck around with precision. But it was the second unit that found the back of the net. Morgan Geekie (a career-high 10 goals) scored from the outside of the right circle, thanks to a Jake DeBrusk screen.
But in the fast-paced first, the Oilers eventually got rolling and tied it up at 11:40. The struggling Derek Forbort lost the puck as he tried to break it out as Connor McDavid flicked it off his stick. It went to Warren Foegele, who took it to the net and beat Swayman through the pads.
The B’s survived an Anthony Richard trip on McDavid and then pushed back. They held a 14-12 shot advantage in the first, but could not get another by Stuart Skinner.
But Brad Marchand gave the B’s their one-goal lead back just 25 seconds into second. Danton Heinen gave Marchand a nifty little pass just outside the blue line to give the captain a little bit of room to attack. From the outside of the left circle, Marchand found the sizable hole Skinner left on his short side for his 26th goal.
The B’s made it a two-goal lead at 4:40 with another fourth (third?) line goal. From the right point, McAvoy gave a short pass to Jesper Boqvist just below him. Boqvist flipped the puck toward the net and, with Justin Brazeau screening in front, Trent Frederic (16) tipped it past Skinner.
Veteran Corey Perry tried to get his team into the game by taking a run at McAvoy and missed, but Parker Wotherspoon caught the attempt and had words with Perry. Perry started throwing hands immediately and Wotherspoon had to oblige, landing some good shots and getting the W. Perry got the extra two, but the B’s could not cash in.
But after killing off another Edmonton power play, the B’s extended the lead to 4-1. At the end of a terrific shift by the B’s first line, Jake DeBrusk backhanded home a rebound of a David Pastrnak shot at 13:57. It was his 13th and first in 10 games.
They would not run away with it, however. The Oilers got one back just 90 seconds later when Zach Hyman won a puck battle along the boards and fed a wide-open Foegele in front of the net for his second of the game on backhander.
The B’s were lucky to get out of the period with a two-goal lead. Edmonton kept them hemmed in their own end for the better part of the final four minutes of the period. Mason Lohrei, who had three assists, was on the ice for the final 3:46. But the B’s were able to survive and catch their breath.
Then after Swayman allowed a bad goal at 6:14 of the third, the Oilers were with striking distance. The netminder tried to clear the puck himself along the wall but it was stopped by Cody Ceci at the right point. Ceci fired a shot that looked like an easy save for Swayman, but it somehow squeezed through and behind him. Mattias Janmark just tapped it in for the easy one.
It was all tied up 1:10 later. A Darnell Nurse left point shot produced a fat rebound and Perry lifted it over Swayman’s pad for the equalizer.
“Our bench was really calm, even though it looked like we were in an avalanche for a while,” said Montgomery.
The B’s regained the lead but couldn’t maintain it. After a nice play by Lohrei to keep the puck in and drop it for Pastrnak, the sharpshooter whistled a shortside wrister past Skinner at 12:41.
But Swayman’s rebound control issues continued. The Oilers tied it up just 38 seconds later when he couldn’t control Mattias Ekholm’s long distance shot and Zach Hyman tucked the rebound underneath the netminder.
The B’s looked like they would be able to run out the clock to get it to overtime and they did, but not without shooting themselves in the foot. After overskating a puck at his own blue line, James van Riemsdyk took a tripping penalty with 20 seconds in regulation.
They managed to kill it in OT and then van Riemsdyk was a stopped on a breakaway coming out of the box.
But for the second time in as many games, McAvoy was the hero.