October 12, 2013

Bruins claw out win in Columbus

By Jesse Connolly

Nick Foligno and the Blue Jackets put 23 shots on net during the final two periods on Saturday, but none found their way past Tuukka Rask. (Getty Images)

Final: Boston 3, Columbus 1

Recap: The first period at Nationwide Arena was matinee hockey at its finest. The two teams combined for just 11 shots, with Boston holding a 7-4 edge. Unfortunately for the B's, one of the Blue Jackets' four bids found the back of the net, with defenseman Jack Johnson cashing in on a late power play.

Things picked up dramatically in the second, during which the B's put 16 shots on Sergei Bobrovsky. One found its way through, as Chris Kelly tied the game with 3:42 to go in the frame.

In the third, Loui Eriksson gave the Bruins the lead 49 seconds in. The Swedish winger notched his first goal with the Black and Gold, burying a backhander on a feed from Patrice Bergeron. Milan Lucic added an empty-netter with 33 ticks left to seal the deal.

Records: Boston 3-1-0, six points; Columbus 2-2-0, four points

Key Play of the Game: Kelly's game-tying goal in the second was a doozy for Bobrovsky. The Bruins center received a pass from Jarome Iginla, fresh off a Boston penalty kill, and sent a fairly-hard-but-highly-stoppable shot from about 75 feet out that somehow eluded the Blue Jackets' backstop.

Connolly's Commendations: Overall it was a pretty solid afternoon by the Bruins' band of blueliners. Adam McQuaid led the way with five blocked shots. Johnny Boychuk had three, one of which sent him for a brief trip down the tunnel. No. 55 also had an assist and was plus-2. Matt Bartkowski looked a little shaky at times in his season debut, but he finished with three shots and an even rating in 14:47 of action.

For the fourth time in as many games, Tuukka Rask yielded just one goal to the opposition. No. 40 finished with 26 saves on 27 shots. He's allowed just two even-strength goals this season.

After a quiet start to his career in Boston, Eriksson played his best game of the season this afternoon. He had a goal and a team-high six shots in 19:18 of ice time.

Connolly's Critiques: The Bruins and Blue Jackets owe everyone in the building -- and watching on TV at home -- a refund for the first 18:52 of this one. What an uneventful, lifeless start.

Rough afternoon for Brad Marchand. No. 63 made two bad plays in his own end on one shift in the second period, missing badly on a pass back to Bartkowski, only to get the puck back and promptly turn it right over to Blue Jackets forward Mark Letestu, forcing Rask to come up with a timely stop. Marchand was dropped to the third line in the third period and had just one shift in the second half of the final frame.

Notes: The Bruins have now won four straight matchups with the Jackets. ... Chris Kelly has two goals through four games. Last season, he tallied three times in 34 contests. ... Iginla's assist gave him his first point as a Bruin.

Final Thoughts: The B's were a bit lucky that Columbus was also sleepwalking early on, but they made the most of the break they caught on Kelly's goal, jumping out to a lead early in the third and shutting the door the rest of the way.

Next: The Bruins will return home to face off with the Red Wings on Monday at 1 o'clock.

Twitter: @JesseNEHJ
Email: jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com