The Boston Bruins didn’t play a pretty game Friday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but they left Nationwide Arena with two points after a 4-3 shootout win.
The B’s fell behind 1-0 when Ryan Johansen blocked a shot by Boston defenseman Kevan Miller at the point and raced down the ice to score on Bruins backup goaltender Niklas Svedberg. Johansen picked up an assist less than two minutes later when Nick Foligno doubled Columbus’ lead with his 10th goal of the season.
It would have been easy for the Bruins to play without much energy in the third period trailing 2-0 with another game less than 24 hours later against the rival Montreal Canadiens. They instead decided to increase their intensity and make a hard push to earn at least a point.
“I think (Svedberg) just got better as the game went on,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien told NESN’s Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley after the game. “I’m sure he’d like to have at least one of those goals back. But it’s how he conducted himself from there, he made some big saves when we needed it and gave us an opportunity to stay in the game until we started scoring some goals here. Even at the end in the shootout, they have got some pretty good shootout players on that team, but he stood tall and gave us a chance to get that winning goal by another young player.”
A little luck helped Boston climb back into the game when Dennis Seidenberg’s shot from just inside center ice trickled past Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky at 1:28 of the third period.
“We got a good break on that,” Julien said. “It just seemed to give us life. Our guys were still working hard, they were still committed to trying to get back in the game. Every once and a while you need a little bit of a break there and that goal by Seidenberg got us going even more.”
About eight minutes later, Matt Fraser scored his first goal in eight games on a beautiful deflection of a Matt Bartkowski shot from the point. This goal tied the game at 2-2 and gave Bartkowski two assists for his second consecutive multi-point game.
Bruins winger Daniel Paille ended his own lengthy goalless drought (37 games) nearly two minutes later with a go-ahead goal at 11:32 of the third period.
The B’s later relinquished their lead when Blue Jackets D-man Jack Johnson scored his first goal of the season to force overtime. A shootout was needed following an exciting five minutes of overtime, and recent call-up Alexander Khokhlachev scored in the seventh round of the shootout to give Boston two points.
The Bruins had a 20-10 shots-on-goal advantage over the Blue Jackets in the third period and overtime while also earning a 26-19 shot attempt edge during that same span. Overall, the B’s had a 77-67 shot attempt advantage (74-57 at even strength).
The Bruins have shown impressive resiliency this season when they havent’ played quality hockey for a full 60 minutes. Boston has three wins when trailing after two periods (tied for second-most in the league), six wins when trailing first (tied for third-most in the league) and a 4-0 record in games decided by overtime or a shootout.
This is the kind of resiliency and effort Boston must give to remain in the playoff race with injuries to key players — specifically, No. 1 defenseman Zdeno Chara and first-line center David Krejci — testing the team’s depth.
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