(Photo: Alan Sullivan)
The snow had begun to fall about five hours before the puck dropped at TD Garden. For hockey fans in Boston, some snow merely slowed down their arrival, but didn’t prevent them from showing up. It appeared the Boston Bruins were delayed in showing up as well as they hosted the Columbus Blue Jackets. They were standing on the ice as the anthem was sung, but when it came to their play, they didn’t truly show up until 32 seconds into the second period. That’s when Brad Marchand notched the first goal of the game and for the Bruins.
The Bergeron line entered the offensive zone, with Ryan Spooner slotted in at right wing while Brett Connolly sat out as a healthy scratch. Patrice Bergeron skated down the slot and passed the puck to Spooner over at the left circle who dished it to Marchand as he arrived at the crease and he backhanded it in. Three minutes later David Pastrnak would get his fifth goal of the season. This extended his point streak to three games and gives him points in four of the five games he’s played since returning from injury.
For Boston, that would be some of their best hockey of the night. Roughly three and a half minutes later Dalton Prout would score his first of the season and put the Blue Jackets on the score sheet, cutting the Bruins lead in half. As the Blue Jackets got stronger on their play, the Bruins were getting noticeably sloppier.
Three minutes later, as the Blue Jackets continued to impress their will on Boston, Kerby Rychel would tip in his second goal of the season to tie the game. The score would remain knotted there.
“To be honest with you, we kind of gave them those two goals. If you watch the plays it was just turnovers and odd-man rushes, and they’re a team that we talked about before the game that will make you pay when you do that,” Nick Foligno said after the game. “So we got back to our game and found some nice big goals. [Prout] scores a great goal for us, and then [Kerby] Rychel had a really nice tip and got the guys going and then just we started to kind of take over that game.
As the clock began to tick down the last minute of regulation, Dennis Seidenberg was whistled for a slashing with six seconds remaining in the third. The Blue Jackets wouldn’t be able to capitalize in those waning seconds in regulation.
Three-on-three overtime is all about puck possession and as the horn signaled the end of regulation, it was clear that the first 1:54 of the five-minute extra inning would be a 4-on-3 power play for Columbus. Somehow the Bruins made the kill and then were rewarded with their own power play in OT as the Blue Jackets were caught with too many men on the ice. However, even the five-minute overtime would not be enough to determine a victor.
As the shootout began, Spooner was tapped first for the Bruins. His wrist shot got past Joonas Korpisalo. Jonas Gustavsson, who found out when he arrived before the game that he was playing, stoned Boston College alum Cam Atkinson. Bergeron was denied at the other end as was Brandon Dubinsky for Columbus. As Torey Krug started his approach, he could win the game and get the Bruins two important points. His wrist shot found the back of the net and the Bruins had stolen a game.
“Yeah, I think the two points is really important at this time of the year when you look at the standings. It’s not so much the two goals that we gave up, it’s the way we played again tonight,” head coach Claude Julien said after the game. “We need to be better. I thought our intensity was good but not good enough and we need to be better with—when I say intensity, when you’re a little bit more intense so is your execution. And, again, our execution was, you know, average tonight; easy passes that should be tape-to-tape.”
And despite his impressive goal, Krug admitted that he had not played well. He commented a couple of times that Gustavsson had bailed him out during a number of plays.
“Hell of a job by Gus. He won the game for us tonight. He bailed us out numerous times, me specifically many times tonight,” Krug said. “So I was lucky that he was back there for us, and he’s always prepared. It’s what makes him a great backup in this league and we’re lucky he’s on our side.”
So the struggles on home ice continue, despite getting the win. The Bruins travel to Pennsylvania, where they will play the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday, before returning to Boston to take on the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday to close out their most recent three games in four nights.
For post game interviews, see the video: