The Columbus Blue Jackets and Boston Bruins both appear virtual-locks to make the playoffs. While Monday’s contest wrapped up the regular-season slate of the schedule for the clubs, perhaps a meeting could be in store for both this spring.
After a 2-1 win over the Senators Saturday, the Jackets looked to push their season-long winning streak to eight. Boston hoped to build momentum on the heels of their 3-0 win over the Lightning. They came in alternating wins and losses over their last five.
Both clubs were without key regulars including Seth Jones for Columbus and for Boston, Rick Nash was a late scratch after already losing David Backes to a lacerated leg Saturday, and still minus the services of Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara.
The Jackets remembered the 7-2 loss they suffered last December in Boston, and on their first shot of the game, they got on the board first.
As Boston was undergoing a line change, they did not touch the puck and as the Jackets pressed forward on their strong forecheck, Thomas Vanek found open space to deliver an assist to Boone Jenner for his 11th at 4:15.
Jenner has goals in four-straight, five of the last six games, and is on a career-high six-game point streak.
Boston looked to pull even on their first powerplay chance but came up empty in large part to Joonas Korpisalo who made six saves.
Korpisalo stopped all 14 shots and Tuukka Rask stopped four of the five he faced.
In the second period, Boston tied it on the NHL debut of Ryan Donato, a slapshot teed up and past Korpisalo.
Cam Atkinson, the former Boston College Eagle, just missed a goal earlier in the period, which would have given the Jackets a 2-0 lead, but Rask was able to stop the tip-in chance in front.
And Brad Marchand was able to get the second for his team. Atkinson, behind his net, lost the puck as Boston pushed it up ice and the forwards took over from there. Markus Nutivaara extended out and slowed the puck up as Marchand’s shot made it through. That lead would extend to 3-1 as Riley Nash and the Bruins capitalized on their fourth power play.
The fourth goal of the period was capped off by Sonny Milano and the Jackets just 25 seconds later. Nick Foligno worked the play behind the net, picking up the assist along with Ryan Murray.
For the second period, Boston outshot Columbus 13-10 and led in shots 27-15.
Needing to find the equalizer entering the final period, Columbus got that third goal when Nutivaara threw one at the net that Vanek was able to tip.
Artemi Panarin had a relatively quiet night until his first shot on goal resulted in his team-leading 22nd goal off a faceoff.
However, only 20 seconds later, David Krejci tied the score. Again, a fast response, and this time, the play coming together off a board battle that turned into a tic-tac-toe play in front of the net as Donato and Danton Heinen added assists.
With the score tied at four after 60, this game headed to overtime where Atkinson ended things with his 17th of the season to give Columbus the 5-4 win.
The win is Columbus’ season-best eighth in a row and Korpisalo's third straight. Boston had their eight-game home-winning streak ended. The Jackets improve to 8-1 in overtime this season and win the season-series versus Boston 2-1.