At times, a finishing touch has eluded the Boston Bruins.
Such was the case Tuesday night, and they paid the price for it. The Bruins fell 2-1 to the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup playoffs second round.
The Blue Jackets took a two-goal lead and never gave it up, even when the Bruins turned up the pressure in the third period in an effort to find an equalizing goal. Boston had numerous quality opportunities, but rung shots off the post or put them right in the pads of Columbus netminder Sergei Bobrovsky.
Jake DeBrusk had Boston’s only goal. Boone Jenner and Matt Duchene accounted for Columbus’ tallies.
Tuukka Rask made 32 saves for the Bruins, while Bobrovsky turned away 36 shots for Columbus.
The Bruins now trail the best-of-seven series 2-1.
Here’s how it all went down:
BLUE JACKETS CLAIM FIRST
The Bruins controlled play in much of the first period, but a late collapse resulted in the Blue Jackets scoring the period’s only goal.
Boston had a nice stretch of play in its attacking end, but Columbus ended up getting possession, with Scott Harrington clearing the zone by finding Riley Nash with a pass near center ice. Nash quickly hit Jenner, and Jenner gained Columbus’ offensive blue line. Jenner made a nice move to catch Connor Clifton off balance, then fired a shot that Clifton got a piece of before it beat Rask at 18:37.
The Bruins outshot the hosts 12-10 in the period.
The Blue Jackets controlled the second period, but both sides were able to get one goal in the stanza, sending Columbus into the third with a 2-1 lead.
Brad Marchand was whistled for high-sticking Jenner at 10:49, and just before the Bruins killed the penalty (despite struggling mightily to clear their zone the entire time), the Jackets found the back of the net. Cam Atkinson slapped a shot from the point, which hit Zdeno Chara and trickled into the slot, where there was a massive scramble for the puck. Nick Foligno put a shot on net that Rask blocked, but in doing so left a juicy rebound for Duchene, who buried Columbus’ second goal at 12:42.
Late in the period, the Bruins scored a pretty important goal, but not without some controversy.
Karson Kuhlman won a battle near the benches and got the puck to David Krejci, who then entered the offensive zone. Krejci took some contact on the boards and lost possession, with the puck sliding into the circle. DeBrusk gathered it and shortly thereafter fired a shot, which Bobrovsky appeared to get a piece of. However, the puck slid right through the netminder’s legs and into the goal.
It initially was ruled a no-goal, but a review (and a lengthy one at that) made clear that it went well over the line, trimming Boston’s deficit to 2-1 with 39.9 seconds left in the period.
Rask and Co. were absolutely peppered in the middle 20 minutes, as evidence by the Blue Jackets’ 17-10 shot advantage in the frame.
As had been the case all game, the Bruins had plenty of quality chances in the third period, but were unable to cash in.
They had a few prime opportunities with the net empty, but were unable to figure out Bobrovsky.
The Blue Jackets will look to push the Bruins to the brink of elimination in Game 4 on Thursday. Puck drop from Nationwide Arena is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Russell LaBounty/USA TODAY Sports Images