Overtime losses are not easy to swallow on a given night, but for a team trying to climb back into the playoff race, they are devastating.
Charlie McAvoy was rewarded for driving hard to the net and the Boston Bruins defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 in OT. It was the second straight overtime loss for the Blackhawks.
Chicago forward Drake Caggiula thought he netted the game-winning goal with 65 seconds remaining in regulation on a delayed penalty. However, the referees decided that a hand pass took place prior to the goal and waved it off.
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said after the game the referee admitted it was his mistake.
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) February 6, 2020
Bruins extend winning streak
While the NHL landscape is constantly changing, Boston has remained a fixture near the top of the Eastern Conference standings. The loss suffered in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final still stings, but the Bruins have done an excellent job putting themselves in a position to return. The Tampa Bay Lightning have regained their form from a season ago, but due to five straight wins and consistently strong play, the Bruins have a seven-point lead in the Atlantic Division.
The Bruins acquired Charlie Coyle in the days leading up to the NHL trade deadline last season and it will be fascinating to see if they can bring in additional reinforcements for the 2020 playoffs. Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers is one of the top rentals available and his style would be a near perfect fit for the style played in Boston. He is extremely quick and can play the heavy game which takes its toll on an opponent during an extended playoff series.
GAME. WINNER. 🚨
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) February 6, 2020
Turning point in Chicago
Self-evaluation is one of the toughest aspects of a front-office job in sports and these two OT losses could shift the strategy in Chicago as the trade deadline approaches.
One area of strength that could fetch a decent return is goaltending. The Toronto Maple Leafs’ acquisition of Jack Campbell would presumably take them out of the running, but several teams could use a quality netminder such as Corey Crawford or Robin Lehner. Both goalies will be unrestricted free agents at the end of the season.
Toews’ 16 points since the start of 2020 and Patrick Kane’s 12-game point streak earlier this month have masked several flaws facing the Blackhawks this season. Depth has been a major pain point in recent years, and this could be the time for Chicago to collect a few additional assets in order to reload for next season.
Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.