(Photo Credit: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

By: Jason Cooke | Follow me on Twitter / X @cookejournalism

The Boston Bruins have been no stranger to extra hockey throughout their four-game road trip. Since falling to the Colorado Avalanche in overtime last week to kick off the trip, the Bruins squandered their following two games in the overtime period in a developing theme of struggling to close out third periods. When the Black and Gold were forced into another sudden-death situation on Saturday night with the St. Louis Blues, Charlie McAvoy had no intention of keeping their streak alive. The skilled blueliner netted two goals, including the game-winner, skating past the Blues by a score of 4-3.

Although the Bruins went 1-3 on their trip out west, the B’s still collected five of eight points in the span. Five points are relatively successful against tough competition, such as Colorado and the Vegas Golden Knights, given the team’s injury problems throughout the trip. However, Saturday’s overtime win was much needed for Jim Montgomery’s Bruins. Boston now returns to the comforts of TD Garden with a 25-8-9 record, sitting atop the Eastern Conference with 59 points in first place.

“I thought we were more aggressive on the three-on-three and really liked our last two periods offensively and defensively,” Montgomery told reporters after the win. “Great talent and great shot (on McAvoy’s goal). ” I mean, that’s a goal scorer’s shot there. That’s why we try to get him to shoot more, because both of his goals when he’s in a shot mode, he can score.”

Although the Bruins dominated the Blues for most of the contest, a persistent St. Louis team didn’t make it easy for Boston to escape with two points. Boston outshot the Blues by a convincing 35-23 margin but could not sustain a lead throughout 60 minutes of hockey. The Bruins looked to be in the driver’s seat early in the game as Brad Marchand scored his 900th career National Hockey League point, roofing a quick snapshot over the shoulder of Jordan Binnington for a 1-0 Bruins lead. Marchand is just the fifth player in Bruins history to reach the 900-point mark.

Just over two minutes later, the Blues responded. Kevin Hayes one-timed a feed from Kasperi Kapanen for the equalizer. Hayes snuck into the soft spot, uncovered for an easy scoring opportunity at Jeremy Swayman, who made 20 saves in the win. The Bruins have struggled with defensive zone coverage as of late, which was apparent on another equalizing goal from St. Louis at the halfway mark of the second frame. Even though Boston was killing a penalty, Jake Neighbours found himself alone on the doorstep for an easy tap-in goal as McAvoy was the lone Boston defender below the hash marks. Charlie Coyle and Hampus Lindholm got caught puck-watching, and the puck was in the back of their net within a blink of an eye.

That’s not to take away from McAvoy’s first tally of the game minutes before the Neighbours goal. McAvoy joined a rush up ice, corralling a pass in his skates before firing a wrist shot through Binnington’s legs. The play resulted from a great feed from Jesper Boqvist, who excelled in a first-line role with Morgan Geekie and David Pastrnak. The recent American Hockey League call-up picked his head up, feathering a puck in the direction of McAvoy in a productive night for the 25-year-old. Boqvist was a +1 in 13:59 of time on ice on Saturday.

In accordance with their previous three games on the trip, the Bruins let up a third-period lead. After Brad Marchand scored his second goal on the power play at 7:43 of the period, Oskar Sundqvist deflected a shot from the point by Scott Perunovich that Swayman ultimately had little chance of stopping. Just like that, Boston found themselves in yet another overtime situation. McAvoy and the Bruins didn’t waste any time, lasering a shot into the upper left-hand corner while on an odd-man rush with Pastrnak. McAvoy’s goal passed Ray Bourque for the most goals scored by a Boston defenseman in overtime.

The Bruins are back home with a matinee matchup against the New Jersey Devils on Monday. The last time the B’s met with New Jersey, the Black and Gold skated to a convincing 5-2 win. Puck drop is slated for 1:00 p.m.