For a team that’s been among the NHL’s worst all season, the Columbus Blue Jackets sure have given the Boston Bruins a lot of trouble.
After needing a shootout to defeat the Blue Jackets last month at TD Garden, the Bruins again were unable to put away the Jackets in regulation in Tuesday’s rematch at Nationwide Arena.
The teams tallied one goal apiece in the first period, then failed to find the back of the net in the second and third, forcing overtime. No shootout was necessary this time around, however, as Loui Eriksson scored 33 seconds into the extra session to give Boston a 2-1 win.
“It was obviously nice to get the result we wanted,” Bruins defenseman Torey Krug told reporters after the game, as aired on “Bruins Overtime LIVE.” “It wasn’t pretty by any means whatsoever, but at the end of the day, that doesn’t matter. We move on to the next game and look at those two points.”
The win propelled the Bruins back into second place in the Atlantic Division, a spot they lost when they dropped a wild 6-5 decision to the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday. The B’s entered Wednesday one point ahead of the Wings and four behind the first-place Florida Panthers.
Some additional notes from Tuesday’s action:
— To the Blue Jackets’ credit, head coach John Tortorella’s squad actually has played rather well of late, going 6-1-3 over its last 10 games.
— Tuukka Rask rebounded nicely in net for the Bruins after getting the hook in two of his previous three starts. Rask stopped 28 of the 29 shots he faced and foiled three breakaways, including two that came while Columbus was shorthanded.
“This was one of those games that they had some shots, but I saw the puck, and guys were taking care of the rebounds that were there, and we kept them on the outside for the most part,” Rask told reporters. “So, it’s a good sign. I thought our defensive effort was pretty good, although maybe we weren’t closing quick enough sometimes and not on them as much as we would like to. But the chances they had, we kept them on the outside.”
The Bruins goaltender was slow to get up after taking an inadvertent elbow to the face from teammate Matt Beleskey late in the second period. He remained in the game, though, and showed no ill effects the rest of the way.
“It just knocked me in the head,” Rask told reporters. “… I was shaken up a little bit, but that’s it.”
— Center Patrice Bergeron returned to the lineup and scored Boston’s first goal after missing two games with an undisclosed injury. Defenseman Adam McQuaid, who missed the previous 18 contests with an upper body injury, logged 14:51 of ice time and compiled three hits and two blocked shots.
“When you look at how long (McQuaid) has been out — I think it’s between five and six weeks — I thought he handled himself well for his first game (back),” Bruins coach Claude Julien said in a postgame interview with NESN’s Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley. “A couple of glitches here and there, but no different from most of our players (Tuesday night). So, I thought he was good for his first game back. And it’s always good to get Bergy back in our lineup here. It just gives us so much stability.”
— Bergeron’s goal was the 228th of his career, bringing him into a tie with Hall of Famer Dit Clapper for 12th-most in Bruins franchise history. He now needs just one goal to catch 11th-place Milt Schmidt on that list and two to match 10th-place Donald Marcotte.
— Two difficult games remain on Boston’s season-long six-game road trip. Thursday’s opponent, the Nashville Predators, are locked in a battle with the Colorado Avalanche for the Western Conference’s first wild-card playoff spot, while the Dallas Stars, whom the Bruins visit Saturday night, own the best record in the West and the second-best in the NHL.
Thumbnail photo via Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports Images