Boston center Patrice Bergeron, shown taking a faceoff with Vancouver center Bo Horvat on Wednesday, wore a full mask to protect his broken nose. Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP

The Boston Bruins have been doing some good things lately, to be sure.

They have not been getting outchanced by teams and, when they have allowed scoring opportunities, the Bruins have been getting some good, reliable goaltending. In general, they have all been pulling in the same direction.

But if scoring goals continues to be this difficult for them, their season will end after 82 games.

On Wednesday night in Vancouver, the Bruins fired 36 shots on net – plus a couple more pinged posts – but managed to get only one past former Boston College goalie Thatcher Demko and lost 2-1 in a shootout to the Vancouver Canucks.

In the last four games, the Bruins have pumped 150 shots on net but have managed just six goals, half on the power play with two of those on 5-on-3 situations. That’s how the Bruins scored Wednesday, with Patrice Bergeron deflecting a David Pastrnak slap pass in the third period to allow Boston to tie the game and eventually take a point.

But after both Demko and the Bruins Jeremy Swayman (31 saves) made terrific saves down the stretch and in overtime, J.T. Miller and Bo Horvat scored in the shootout to secure the second point for Vancouver.


With the Connor McDavid-led Edmonton Oilers on the horizon on Thursday night and the Pacific Division-led Calgary Flames on Saturday, getting the second point on Wednesday would have been nice – perhaps imperative even – but the pop gun offense (29th in 5-on-5 goals) would yield no more.

“You just have to stick with it. Frustration can settle in easily on a group,” said assistant coach Joe Sacco. “What we’d like to see from our group is just start shooting the puck a little bit more in certain times during the game. There are opportunities where we passed up on some shots and we can get some 2-for-1 rebounds and situations like that. But as far as our group not scoring, it’s an issue that we focus on and we just want to make sure that they stick with it. Don’t get frustrated. Usually good players will find a way to score if they keep putting pucks on the net.”

With the return of Brad Marchand, Taylor Hall dropped down from the Bergeron-Pastrnak combo to go back with Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith and he seemed out of sorts again. In the first period, he had an opportunity to shoot from the slot but chose to pass, the good opportunity dying on the vine before the puck could ever get to the net.

That line had no shots on net after 40 minutes, so Sacco, filling in while Coach Bruce Cassidy is in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols, mixed up the middle six, bumping up Erik Haula to the Coyle line and putting Hall with Trent Frederic and Nick Foligno in the third period.

“(The Coyle line) didn’t have any shots on net, so we thought we’d get Haula back there. That line was playing well the last couple of games,” said Sacco. “It was just to change it up obviously. We needed to do something from the offensive side of our group.”

Right off the bat, they had a great scoring chance when Foligno set up Hall for an off wing shot into a half empty net but Hall simply whiffed on it.


It was that kind of night.

The game marked the return of Marchand from a three-game suspension. He was in the thick of things as usual, but he appeared to be a tad rusty with the puck. And in several instances, he and his linemates just couldn’t get to the loose pucks off the rebounds they created with some heavy pressure.

“Definitely not satisfied with it. We need more. But that being said, tonight I thought the net-front (presence) was there. We just weren’t shooting,” said Patrice Bergeron, who played with a full mask and cage to protect his broken nose. “I think the presence was there and at times we made the extra pass and we have to bring it on net. And I think every time we did that … there were a lot of plays around the net that we missed that were really close. When we did shoot, I thought we had some good chances.”

Now it’s on to Edmonton. With McDavid and Leon Draisaitl (a combined 86 points already) waiting for them, the Bruins will no doubt need more than one goal to come away with anything.

Comments are not available on this story.