Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Concern for Bergeron overshadows Rask, other Bruins positives from OTL

Matt Kalman
November 16, 2018 - 11:42 pm

Remember when Zdeno Chara left the Bruins’ loss in Colorado with a lower-body injury Wednesday and then was sent back to Boston on Thursday and you figured things couldn’t get any worse for the Bruins injury-wise?

Well, you might want to wake up Saturday and do whatever you do for good luck, but do it for Patrice Bergeron.

The Bruins center was rocked into the boards by Dallas’ Radek Faksa in the second period of the Bruins’ 1-0 overtime loss Friday.

Bergeron returned to the game later in the period but grabbed his left shoulder in pain after making a clearing pass early in the third period. He skated just five shifts and didn’t take any faceoffs in that period, and then he didn’t play in overtime.

Although it was a positive sign the Bruins medical staff cleared Bergeron to return to the game, his limitations hinted at something that might be a hindrance moving forward, starting with the Bruins’ next game at Arizona on Saturday. Coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters after the game Bergeron would be re-evaluated in the morning.

Concern for Bergeron’s health, however, shouldn’t completely overshadow the defensive effort the Bruins put forward to earn a point on the road despite missing Chara and four other defensemen from their opening night lineup because of injuries.

First and foremost in that effort was goaltender Tuukka Rask, who made his first appearance in the Bruins crease since his ill-fate relief appearance against Vancouver Nov. 8 (three goals on 14 shots) and his four-day leave of absence.

Rask made 36 saves on 37 shots and even on the Jason Dickinson’s game-winning goal the netminder was left alone to keep the Bruins alive until the Stars finally got one past him on their third attempted of the possession.

For the most part Connor Clifton and Jakub Zboril kept their play simple in their NHL debuts. Clifton impressed Cassidy enough to get 18:53 of ice time, and he may have gotten more if he didn’t take nine minutes in penalties.

Matt Grzelcyk and Jeremy Lauzon were penciled in as the Bruins’ new No. 1 defense pair and for the most part they played like it, especially on the penalty kill. Boston was 4-for-4 against Dallas’ power play, which was the seventh-best home power play entering the game. Grzelcyk and Lauzon logged 5:50 of penalty-kill ice time each and were instrumental in the perfect penalty-kill performance, which was more impressive considering the Bruins had to kill three penalties without Bergeron (injured) and Brad Marchand (in the box).

Cassidy had to jumble his forward lines throughout the night, but no combination was able to get a puck past Dallas goalie Ben Bishop. The Bruins were outshot 19-6 from the end of the second period on, including 6-0 in overtime.

The Bruins earned a well-deserved point in the standings under the circumstances. But now they have to hope that they’ll always look back at Friday’s game for the positives they achieved and not because it was the night Bergeron valiantly came back from injury but then was lost for an extended period after. We'll learn a little more Saturday.

Related: Why this may be toughest Chara absence for Bruins to survive