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Bruins Grab Big Road Point In Shootout Loss, Now Coming For Tampa's Ass

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A common sentiment before last night’s Bruins/Jets tilt was that the game was a potential Stanley Cup Final. Two of the top teams in each conference, both boasting offensive talent and high-end goaltending, going head-to-head on the eve of the playoffs will do that. After a highly-entertaining, physical contest that saw Boston claw back from two deficits but ultimately lose 5-4 in a shootout, who wouldn’t want to see these two for all the marbles? (Just pretty fucking please, get new officials.)

The hard-earned point puts the Bruins just one point behind the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic and the two teams will battle for first place tomorrow night at the Garden (and the Bs still have a game in hand). So while they left Manitoba as the losing squad, the Bs picked up at least a point in each of the four games on this roadie and snagged 6 of a possible 8 points.

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Winnipeg took a 1-0 lead 5:33 into the game on a Brandon Tanev goal that we’re still waiting to see a conclusive replay on (much like P.K. Subban’s disallowed goal in Game 1 of last season’s Stanley Cup). The ref closest to the play never came close to calling it a goal and blew the play dead. Apparently, one of the other officials has the vision of Wade Boggs and convinced the ref that “yes, the puck definitely crossed the goal line even though I was 84 feet away at an angle that could not conclusively state that”.

But when the ref came on the mic to update the crowd, he confusingly said “the call on the ice stands” (confusing because the original blown whistle wasn’t for a goal). Even the Bruins Twitter threw shade.

Regardless, 1-0 Canucks. That is until Ryan Donato tied things up with a gorgeous backhander that beat Connor Hellebuyck. It was Donato’s 3rd goal and 5th point in five NHL games.

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The middle stanza was a rough one for Boston. Tanev scored his second of the game just :16 in and former Bruin Joe Morrow beat Anton Khudobin with a blast about six minutes later to put the Jets up 3-1. The Bs lost solid and steady rookie defenseman Matt Grzelcyk at the end of the period after a goonish hit from Josh Morrissey that appeared to be in retaliation for Brad Marchand’s clean burying of Mark Scheifele.

Morrissey was given a five minute boarding major and the Bs made him pay as there was seemingly a goal light that never goes out. Danton Heinen’s 14th (unassisted) withstood Winnipeg’s challenge that the puck exited the zone and cut the deficit to a goal (replays were inconclusive and Heinen apparently did a nice of job of keeping it in to keep the play alive).

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David Pastrnak rifled home a nasty Torey Krug feed less than two minutes later with the Bs enjoying a 5-on-3 advantage to tie with 16+ minutes left.

Khudobin let up a real softie soon after when Tanev’s short-handed wraparound beat the Bs goalie to give the Jet a hat-trick and the lead back.

But the Bruins were back on the power play two minutes later, thanks to Scheifele’s cross-checking penalty, and Krug, who has been red-hot in carrying the load on D, blasted a rocket past Hellebuyck to tie it at 4-4.

Khudobin more than made up for his early boner with some big saves down the stretch to ensure the Bs left town with at least a point. There was some high drama when an exhausted Marchand had a breakaway at the end of OT as the clock was winding down but couldn’t convert for a record-breaking 6th time.

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Donato scored the lone shootout goal for Boston. After Pasta was denied, Marchand had the game on his stick again in the third round but came away empty-handed again (so I guess he his human). Wunderkind Patrik Laine’s marker was the difference after Heinen failed to convert so the Jets got the bonus point tonight (Scheifele had the other shootout tally). Always gonna be weird that post-game bus/plane rides and locker room moods are determined by a personal skills competition.

It would’ve been nice to leave the Prairies with two points but considering the Bs started their back-up, were missing their two best D and three of their top nine forwards, and came back twice from deficits, they have nothing to hang their heads about. They snagged a point in a tough barn and now have a chance to take over first place in the conference. Sounds pretty good to me.

A few more buds for your bowl…

*Coach Butch relied heavily on the 63-37-88 line as they were the only three forwards on either team to log more than 20 minutes of ice time (23:53, 22:07, and 21:36, respectively). They also saw ample PP time (close to six minutes each). The threesome was on ice for Tanev’s first two goals but Bergeron wasn’t for his third so he ended a -2 while Marchand and Pasta were both a team-worst -3.

*The Bs were only called for one penalty on the night and it was an absolute joke. Kevan Miller was somehow whistled for boarding on this legal check.

*After Morrissey Superflied Grizzy behind the goal line and scrums broke out, I wonder how quick Blake Wheeler regretted going in with gloves off when he ended up paired up with Miller. Fortunately for Wheeler, the stripes got between them and no scrap ever developed. Miller continues to have an excellent year for himself and it’s clear he’s a bad motherfucker out there. He was throwing his body around last night and his game is perfectly suited to the playoff grind.

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*Irrational Gripe, Vol. 1. Hey Jets fans, pick a goddamn franchise. As an old school logo nut, it drives me unreasonably bananas that these people wear the defunct jersey of a different franchise to games. I know the Tkachuk-Zhamnov-Numminen-Selanne Jets ditching town was scarring and not your fault. But that logo is literally owned by another team. They all act like it’s the same Winnipeg Jets canon but it’s not. It’s simple: if you’re wearing a Kris King or Evgeny Davydov shirt to Winnipeg games, you’re not supporting the former Atlanta Thrashers but rather the current Arizona Coyotes. I don’t blame you for not shelling out a deuce of your funny money for a game jersey, lord knows I never have. But let’s stop pretending this is all one big happy Jets family. The media up there does this shit too, then has to add disclaimers that that they mean “teams named Jets” or some such shit. Of course, if the new owners could’ve had an ounce of fucking originality, they could’ve avoided me getting ridiculously pissy about this. “Ooh, let’s go with the same name as our WHA team that became our NHL team. Then our fans can still wear their [non-canon] jerseys! They’ll just goshdarn love it!” Beat it.