Fatigue has become the biggest threat to the Boston Bruins’ impressive points streak. They found a way to fight through it for the second time this week.
Patrice Bergeron scored twice, including the winner with 7.2 seconds remaining, as the Bruins on Thursday night came from two goals down to beat the Florida Panthers 4-3, pushing their points streak to a league-best 18 games.
Boston also trailed by two in Tuesday’s 4-3 overtime win against Carolina before finding themselves in the same situation versus Florida. This time, the Bruins needed two goals in the final minute to preserve the streak.
“I felt like we were tired tonight, especially early on,” Bergeron said. “I can’t say that I knew all along we had it. Obviously it wasn’t our best game by any means or [a] perfect game, but it’s obviously the resiliency that you want to see.”
Brad Marchand won a battle in the corner and shuffled the puck to Bergeron, who fired a wrist shot from the left circle past screened Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo to cap the Bruins’ improbable comeback.
David Krejci and Matt Grzelcyk also scored for the Bruins, who are 14-0-4 during their points streak, matching the second-longest points streak in team history after a similar run last season and 15-0-3 mark in the 1940-1941 season.
Tuukka Rask made 22 saves to extend his personal points streak to 18 games (15-0-3).
“[We’re a] special group, for sure. It’s in our DNA now that we just don’t give up,” Rask said. “We go about our business and just battle till the end. Sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn’t.”
Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice and Aleksander Barkov also had a goal for the Panthers, who lost their sixth straight (0-2-4). Luongo finished with 24 saves.
“It’s the most disappointing loss this year, I think the way and the fashion it happened,” Florida coach Bob Boughner said. “No one has beaten this team in regulation in 17 games, now 18. I feel we should’ve been that team and all that was taken away in less than a couple minutes. It hurts.”
Boston fell behind 3-2 with 9 minutes, 8 seconds remaining when Huberdeau charged into the Bruins’ zone and skated around Zdeno Chara before executing a nifty spin move in the right circle and slinging the puck past Rask for his second goal.
Grzelcyk pulled Boston even on his one-timer near the blue line on a power play with 36.5 seconds to play before Bergeron won it.
“We were 30 seconds away from a perfect, 60-minute game,” Barkov said. “We came here and wanted to end [their streak] and get the win and move forward, but then those last 30 seconds, they hurt a lot.”
In other games on Thursday, the Pittsburgh Penguins shut out the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-0, the New York Islanders defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-2 and the Detroit Red Wings edged the New York Rangers 3-2.
The Minnesota Wild outplayed the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-0, the Chicago Blackhawks edged the Buffalo Sabres 5-4 and the Dallas Stars crushed the Colorado Avalanche 4-0.
The Arizona Coyotes overpowered the Calgary Flames 2-0, the Edmonton Oilers edged the Vancouver Canucks 3-2, the San Jose Sharks demolished the Montreal Canadiens 5-2 and the St Louis Blues crushed the Los Angeles Kings 4-0.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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