Give these Boston Bruins credit, they are right at home playing from behind in a series.
The Bruins evened their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Thursday night, beating the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 at Nationwide Arena in Game 4.
It was a must-win game for the Bruins, and they played like it right out of the chute, scoring twice before the midway point of the first period. Meanwhile, Tuukka Rask delivered a tremendous performance in net, making a number of key saves to keep Boston’s lead intact.
David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron (twice) and Sean Kuraly had the goals for the Bruins. Artemi Panarin recorded the Blue Jackets’ lone goal.
Rask made 39 saves for the Bruins, while Bobrovsky turned away 42 shots for Columbus.
Here’s how it all went down:
There was a lot to unpack from a busy first period that finished with the Bruins ahead 2-1.
Just a few minutes after the opening puck drop, Pastrnak scored the type of goal he had so desperately been seeking. Charlie McAvoy fired a diagonal pass from the point, which found the winger beside the dot. Pastrnak one-timed a shot that Bobrovsky got a piece of, however it trickled through the netminder’s legs and into the net at 3:33 to open the scoring.
At 6:38, Alexandre Texier went to the box for tripping Torey Krug, but just seconds into Boston’s man advantage, Columbus caught a break. Boone Jenner got the puck and had a quasi-breakaway and was tripped up by Brad Marchand in the process, resulting in a penalty shot at 6:52. Rask made a nice save to keep the B’s up one.
Later in the power play, the Bruins showed Rask some thanks for the stop.
Krug started a breakout from Boston’s defensive zone and found Marchand with a pass. Marchand went darting through the attacking end, and after getting deep, turned and fired a pass to Bergeron in the high slot. Bergeron uncorked a wrister that beat Bobrovsky over his left shoulder, making it 2-0 Bruins at 7:18.
The Blue Jackets didn’t take the deficit lying down, although their first goal did come with significant help.
Seth Jones fired a shot from the point that hit a teammate and deflected up into the protective netting before falling back down onto the ice. Some players stopped playing, but the play never was whistled dead, so Oliver Bjorkstrand gathered the puck and slipped it to Panarin right on the doorstep. Panarin finished at 8:46 to cut the Columbus deficit in half.
The puck quite clearly hit the netting, but the officials didn’t see it. Because of that, they were right to let the goal stand and not review it.
There were no goals in the second period, but it wasn’t due to a lack of action.
Both teams had a pair of chances on the power play, but neither could cash in. As has been the case many times already this series, any opportunity the Bruins got on the man advantage resulted in the Blue Jackets getting at least a breakaway or high-danger scoring chance.
The middle 20 minutes finished with each side putting 12 shots on net.
BRUINS PUT IT AWAY
With the Bruins ahead 2-1 entering the third, the first goal of the period was going to swing the momentum of the game in a big way.
It was the Bruins that got that pivotal tally, allowing them to put the contest away.
The Blue Jackets were unable to clear their defensive zone, largely due to quality checking by Joakim Nordstrom. The Bruins worked the puck around for a moment until Backes from behind the net sent a puck up to Zdeno Chara at the point. The defenseman launched a puck into the end boards that banked off the boards and toward the slot. Bobrovsky tried to swat it away, but in doing so, the puck struck David Savard and dropped right at the skates of Kuraly, who was right above the crease.
Kuraly got solid enough contact on a shot to beat Bobrovsky at 8:40 to put the Bruins up 3-1.
For good measure, the Bruins added another.
While on the power play, Krug found Pastrnak with a pass, and the winger put a one-time shot on net. Bobrovsky got a piece of the puck but wasn’t able to control it, and Bergeron was able to poke home the loose puck at 17:30.
The series now shifts to Boston, with Game 5 set to take place Saturday. Puck drop from TD Garden is set for 7:15 p.m. ET.