BOSTON — One more win separates the Boston Bruins from their first Eastern Conference Finals appearance since 2013 — and it’s many thanks to David Pastrnak.
The Bruins earned a 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at TD Garden on Saturday in Game 5 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff matchup. They now lead the best-of-seven series 3-2.
Boston blew a two-goal third period lead, but with 1:28 left, Pastrnak scored the winner off a feed from Brad Marchand to give the B’s the victory.
David Krejci, Marchand and Pastrnak (twice) scored for the Bruins.
Seth Jones, Ryan Dzingel and Dean Kukan had Columbus’ goals.
Tuukka Rask made 33 saves for the Bruins, while Sergei Bobrovsky turned away 32 shots for Columbus.
Here’s how it all went down:
Both teams got some chances in the first period, however the frame ended scoreless.
The Bruins had two chances on the power play, but couldn’t execute on either. Boston did commit one penalty, which it killed successfully in what arguably was its best kill of the series thus far.
Each team put nine shots on net in the first period.
B’S GET ON BOARD
The Bruins scored early in the second period, and it proved to be the middle 20 minutes’ only goal.
David Backes gathered a loose puck and cleared Boston’s defensive zone, ultimately gaining the offensive blue line. Backes dropped the puck to Jake DeBrusk, who was trailing him, and after skating deeper, DeBrusk fired a pass across the zone to Krejci. It was a tough pass to handle, but Krejci was able to quickly control it and fire off a shot, which beat Bobrovsky at 1:39 to open the game’s scoring.
Both goalies were tested quite a bit in the frame, with Columbus outshooting Boston 15-12. Rask provided his best save of the night in the second after an inexcusable giveaway by Brandon Carlo.
Torey Krug committed the period’s only penalty, getting whistled for holding Nick Foligno at 9:52, but the Bruins killed it off without issue.
The first goal of the third period seemed like it would dictate the remainder of the game, but that proved to be far from the truth.
Patrice Bergeron won an offensive zone draw, getting the puck up to Connor Clifton at the point. Clifton carried the puck deep, then cut and skated along the end line before zipping a pass in front of the crease to Marchand. The winger got a shot off quickly, but Bobrovsky made a tremendous glove save. However, Bobrovsky left a rebound that went right back to Marchand, and on the second attempt Marchand made sure not to miss, putting the Bruins up 2-0 at 4:51.
The Blue Jackets didn’t lay down and die though.
Shortly after the midway point of the period, Jones threw a puck toward the net from a bad angle. In its flight, the puck struck the stick of Matt Grzelcyk and redirected right into Rask before trickling past the goal line. After a lengthy review, the goal was confirmed.
Boston didn’t wait long to respond.
Rask made a tremendous save on Foligno, knocking the puck out wide in the process. Marchand got to the loose puck and got it up to Pastrnak so he could begin a 2-on-1 with Bergeron. Pastrnak skated into the attacking end and loaded up, electing to shoot instead of pass, and it proved to be the right move. His shot rocketed past Bobrovsky just 43 seconds after Jones’ tally to make it 3-1 Bruins.
Things really fell apart for the Bruins after that, however.
The Blue Jackets carried the puck into their attacking end, and as Matt Duchene fell down from a check by Zdeno Chara, he got a circle-to-circle pass over to Dzingel, who roofed it over Rask at 12:07 to cut Columbus’ deficit back down to one.
Less than two minutes later, the Blue Jackets equalized.
There was a scrum in the corner of Columbus’ offensive end, and Josh Anderson managed to get the puck clear, firing it to Artemi Panarin at the opposite dot. Panarin held the puck for a moment before sliding it over to Kukan at the point. Kukan had a wide-open lane, and he teed it up and launched a game-tying missile past Rask at 13:58.
But then, the Bruins pulled off an absolute stunner.
After making a nice stop in the defensive end, Carlo started the breakout, finding Marchand with a pass. Marchand carried the puck for a moment and got Bobrovsky to the near post, then fed a pass to Pastrnak on the far side, and Pastrnak scored what proved to be the winner with 1:28 to play.
With the net empty, the Blue Jackets peppered Rask with shots, but the netminder stood tall to preserve the lead.
The series now will return to Columbus, with Game 6 set to take place Monday. Puck drop from Nationwide Arena is set for 7 p.m. ET.