(Photo Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports)
By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty
Home: Columbus Blue Jackets
Away: Boston Bruins
Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak
DeBrusk – Krejci – Backes
Johansson – Coyle – Heinen
Nordstrom – Kuraly – Acciari
Chara – McAvoy
Krug – Carlo
Grzelcyk – Clifton
Panarin – Dubois – Bjorkstrand
Foligno – Duchene – Atkinson
Texier – Wennberg – Dzingel
Dubinsky – Jenner – Anderson
Werenski – Jones
Kukan – Savard
Clendening – Harrington
This one wasn’t 100 percent a must-win, but it was pretty close. The Bruins had a series tie in mind heading back to Boston. David Backes hopped on to David Krejci’s line for Karson Kuhlman in this one.
David Pastrnak got the Bruins on the board in a big way early. His fourth of the playoffs was assisted by Charlie McAvoy (5) just 3:33 into the game.
The first power play came for the Bruins in the form of an Alexandre Texier tripping penalty 6:38 into the period. Just 15 seconds into the power play for the Bruins, Brad Marchand tripped Boone Jenner on a partial break, leading to a penalty shot. Jenner missed, to the delight of the Bruins.
The top power play unit made no mistake, as Marchand found Patrice Bergeron open and waiting for a feed, and he buried it. Bergeron’s fourth of the playoffs was assisted by Marchand (6) and Torey Krug (5).
It was thought the puck hit the netting behind Tuukka Rask’s net before Artemi Panarin scored in response to Bergeron’s goal. In this case, the puck hitting the netting, which would have blown the play dead before the goal, can’t be reviewed. A Bruins power play followed soon after the Panarin goal, but the Bruins couldn’t convert.
Dean Kukan hit Backes up high in the corner, leading to a two-minute elbowing penalty and Backes being shaken up on the play. Some good chances came, but no goals, still 2-1.
The always terrible delay of game penalty bit the Bruins in the final four minutes, this time it was Marchand. Luckily for the Bruins, they didn’t pay for it on the score sheet, but Columbus did generate some good chances.
It was a hectic first period, but the Bruins came out of it with the lead. Columbus outshot them 15-13, and outhit them 20-10.
Score: 2-1 Boston
Things were fairly standard until Connor Clifton went off for slashing 6:48 into the period. Following the power play, Columbus saw a flurry of chances stopped by Tuukka Rask. After that, things really got going when it came to the tempo and pace of the game.
Charlie Coyle and David Backes nearly converted on a rush before Adam Clendening interfered with Backes and sat for two as a result.
A sequence of hits around the six-minute mark eventually resulted in a Josh Anderson penalty and opportunity for the Bruins to make some noise. Some excellent goaltending on each side continued and the score remained tied at two.
Rask made a stretch pass to Pastrnak and then to Bergeron that almost ended in a goal before Marchand took Cam Atkinson down and went to the box for tripping at the two-minute mark. A crazy period came to an end with the lead still intact. The shots were even at 12 and the Bruins didn’t manage to get outhit as badly in a scrappy period.
Score: 2-1 Boston
A back-and-forth period ensued until Sean Kuraly buried a huge goal to widen the lead to two. He just has a knack for scoring big goals. His second of the playoffs was assisted by Zdeno Chara (2) and Backes (2).
Jake DeBrusk went to the box for tripping shortly after the goal. Rask continued to play great on the power play and the Bruins killed it off. Chara and Brandon Carlo played the entire penalty kill.
With 4:01 to go, Pierre-Luc Dubois grabbed Carlo’s jersey and went off for holding — a crushing blow to a Columbus team that was working towards a comeback. Bergeron buried a rebound off of a Pastrnak shot to widen the lead to three. Pastrnak’s lone assist (5) set up Bergeron’s fifth goal.
A huge win for the Bruins in a hectic game. Tuukka Rask was excellent and made 39 saves, on top of the first line really stepping up when they were needed. The final shots were 46-40 Bruins, 21-13 in the period. Next up is game five in Boston on Saturday at 7:15 PM ET.