COLUMBUS, Ohio – A late game-tying short-handed goal, a rookie stepping up, and a composed backup goalie filling in for one of the best in the game all have the Boston Bruins confident they can get back to winning.
With starter Tim Thomas resting, Tuukka Rask made 34 saves and stopped all three Columbus attempts in the shootout, and rookie Tyler Seguin scored the lone shootout goal to lift the Bruins to a 3-2 win over the Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.
The win ended the Bruins’ season-worst four-game losing streak.
“Definitely, it was one of his biggest and best games of the year,” Boston coach Claude Julien said of Rask. “He was very poised and I thought he did a great job in the shootout.”
Seguin, the No. 2 selection in the 2010 draft, didn’t shy away from his opportunity, either. He confidently faked Steve Mason with a left-to-right move and scored inside the right post.
“I felt great,” said Seguin, who was scratched the last two games. “It’s definitely nice to get back in the lineup and contribute to the team.”
David Krejci and Rich Peverly—who tied it with just over five minutes left on an impressive individual effort—scored regulation goals for Boston, which won the 2,800th game in the history of the 87-year-old franchise.
“It was nice to see that even though they took the lead in the third we found a way to get back into it,” Julien said. “It was a big goal there by Peverly, the short-handed goal.”
The Bruins, who won in Columbus for the first time since 2003, entered as the third seed in the Eastern Conference, only two points ahead of Northeast Division rival Montreal.
Grant Clitsome and Scottie Upshall scored for Columbus, which blew two one-goal leads and has lost eight of nine, all but falling out of playoff contention in the West. Mason finished with 27 saves.
“We’re as happy as you can be without getting two points,” Blue Jackets rookie coach Scott Arniel said. “I said to the coaches that was one of our best games in probably two or three weeks.”
Both teams had a flurry of chances in overtime. Boston peppered Mason in the first 30 seconds, leading to a Columbus timeout. With just over a minute left, Columbus’ Antoine Vermette and Jan Hejda were hammering away around the goal-mouth, but Rask didn’t budge.
Tied 1-1 midway through the third period, Rask seemed to overplay a scoring chance by R.J. Umberger, sliding far out of his crease. The puck came to Upshall, who slotted it home for his 20th, extending his career high. The goal was his fourth in eight games since being acquired by Columbus at the trade deadline.
“It was a game that was right there for us to get,” Upshall said. “I thought we did a lot of great things.”
Looking to capitalize on a power play moments later, Derick Brassard gave the puck away just inside the attacking zone. Peverly charged down the ice, turned defenceman Fedor Tyutin inside out, and stuffed the puck between Mason’s legs two minutes after Upshall’s goal.
Right off the ensuing centre-ice faceoff, Columbus cut in and Antoine Vermette rung a shot off the right post on a quick pass from Upshall.
In an up-tempo first two periods, Clitsome converted a slap shot through traffic with under a minute left.
Krejci pulled the Bruins even at 12:20 of the second, deflecting a blast from Chara, who was mildy booed throughout the game. Last week, Chara’s controversial hit on Montreal’s Max Pacioretty sidelined the forward with a fractured vertebrae and severe concussion.
“Both teams had their opportunities and obviously they got the better of us in the shootout,” Mason said.
Notes: The Bruins’ all-time franchise record is 2,800-1,722-791-99. … Boston improved to 2-5 in shootouts, while Columbus dropped to 4-6. … Boston’s Mark Recchi, the active leader in games, assists and points, moved past Dave Andreychuk into fifth place on the NHL’s all-time games played list. … The Bruins are 7-7-2 this season against the Western Conference. Columbus is 10-2-2 against the East. … Boston’s Patrice Bergeron, third on the team in scoring, has been held without a point in seven straight games, a season high. … Nash has not scored in eight games, one short of his longest stretch without goal.