COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Boston Bruins lost Zdeno Chara, but Joe Corvo found his scoring touch.
Corvo scored his first two goals of the season and Milan Lucic had three assists to lead the Bruins to a come-from-behind 5-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Corvo said. “I can’t remember the last time I went 20-some odd games without scoring, especially on a new team. It’s nice to get that one, and then add another one. It was pretty important.”
Nathan Horton, Chris Kelly and Chara, who left after two periods with an undisclosed lower-body injury, also scored for the Bruins.
Coach Claude Julien said he was unsure of the nature of his six-foot-nine defenceman’s injury.
“I haven’t found out if it’s minor or major or anything yet. I haven’t seen him yet,” Julien said. “It’s hard to comment on that until I know the severity of it.”
The Bruins looked lethargic early, then bounced back from a rare two-game losing skid after gaining points in 15 games in a row. David Krejci added two assists.
“We came out in the third, tied 3-3. Without (Chara), we won it,” Julien said. “Credit the team for that effort. We’ve had five games in eight nights. The group is a little tired. We just had to battle through it.”
The Blue Jackets, who blew a two-goal lead for the second game in a row, picked up goals from Rick Nash, Jeff Carter and R.J. Umberger.
“We tied the game up,” coach Scott Arniel said, downplaying losing the two-goal lead. “We had a chance to win the hockey game.”
Tim Thomas was the Bruins’ goaltender for the first two periods but was replaced by Tuukka Rask.
Julien said he and his staff didn’t think Thomas looked comfortable between the pipes.
“A couple of goals went through him,” he said. “It was a gut feeling from the coaches’ perspective.”
Rask stopped all 11 shots he faced.
“I had the intermission time to think about it,” he said. “If you get shots and you kind of get your sweat going and you feel good about yourself, it helps.”
Down 2-0 midway through the first period, the Bruins scored the next three goals. After Umberger tied it up later in the second, Corvo’s second goal, this one on the power play 6:44 into the third period, gave Boston the lead for good. The Bruins had a man advantage in the final minute when Kelly added some insurance.
The Blue Jackets, who had blown a two-goal lead with 1:30 left on Thursday night before losing in overtime, followed that script again in the opening period.
They dominated early, taking a 1-0 lead when Nash took a stretch pass and pulled the puck between his skates while getting behind Chara before beating Thomas. Carter then scored on the power play, going high over Thomas’ shoulder off a deflected pass from Derick Brassard.
Lucic then got into a scuffle with Umberger and was called for both a slash and a crosscheck, giving the Blue Jackets four minutes with an extra man. Thomas, who also slashed Umberger in between the penalties on Lucic, made a highlight-quality stop while sprawled on his side in the crease, diving to glove Vinny Prospal’s backhander.
That stop loomed large later in the period. The Bruins needed just 45 seconds to even the score.
Corvo’s hard shot from the right point eluded Curtis Sanford, who was making his career-high 12th consecutive start. Then with under a minute left in the opening period, Horton’s wrister from the high slot made it 2-2.
Lucic added a third helper when Chara scored on a laser from the point while the Bruins were on the power play a minute into the second period. That 3-2 lead held for most of the period until Umberger, came down the left wing and tied it.
“I probably shouldn’t have taken the penalties I did. The guys bailed me out,” said Lucic, called for four minors in the first two periods. “For myself, personally, when I’m playing with an edge and kind of mad, I guess, that’s when I’m at my best.”
Columbus’ Derek Dorsett came in all alone on Thomas in the second period and made slight contact as Thomas deflected his shot, with Dorsett ending up in the corner in pain. He crawled on all fours for several seconds before finally being helped off the ice. He was called for goaltender interference, prompting a loud chorus of boos when the replay was shown on the centre-ice monitors.
“The contact was Thomas’ leg coming out to make contact with (Dorsett),” said Arniel, who added that doctors will analyze Dorsett on Sunday.
Corvo’s winner came off a hard shot near the boards from the side of the right circle. It marked his first two-goal game in over a year, since he was playing for Carolina.
“I guess I was putting a little pressure on myself,” Corvo said. “You start to wonder why it’s not happening. What am I doing different from what I’ve done in the past? It’s just a matter of working through it.”
NOTES: Columbus C Mark Letestu, acquired in a deal with Pittsburgh last month, played in his 100th career NHL game. … Thomas had 22 saves while surrendering three goals.