The Columbus Blue Jackets came into tonight riding a five game losing streak. In fact, that is their longest losing streak of the season. In order to snap that skid, they would need best the Boston Bruins in Boston in the first game of the home-and-home series. The Jackets were still without Werenski, Larsen, and McCarthy.
Prior to the game, former Jackets’ captain Nick Foligno was honored for his 1,000th game in the NHL. Hats off to the Bruins organization for scheduling this special night with the Blue Jackets in town. The presentation included a video of current and former teammates, family, and friends congratulating Nick. In a classy move, the Bruins welcomed Jarmo Kekalainen to the ice to present Nick and his family with a special picture and a $10,000 donation to Nick and Janelle’s The Heart’s Playbook Foundation.
The Bruins owned possession early, but both teams traded chances. Bean ripped a shot off the crossbar and Elvis made a nice stop on a Bergeron breakaway.
The pace through the first 13 minutes was blistering. The Bruins owned the shot lead 9-4, and the Jackets struggled to get past the Bruins’ blue line, but back and forth and few whistles made for a quick period.
Elvis was strong despite the onslaught, but the Bruins still struck first. A bouncing puck and little help from the defense led to a goal after the Columbus goaltender managed to save the first two shots. Bayreuther was behind Elvis and was more in the way than he was helping.
BOS Goal 1-0: Haula (Pastrnak, McAvoy) 15:09
In their first scoring opportunity in about 12 minutes, Nyquist was able to put a Sillinger rebound into the back of the net. Sillinger was trying to tuck home a rebound from a Peeke point shot. Moral of the story? Get the puck to the net and good things happen. Most of the period was spent in the Blue Jackets’ zone, but they kept fighting and remained patient.
CBJ Goal 1-1: Nyquist (Sillinger, Peeke) 19:32
Gustav Nyquist buries a rebound after Swayman couldn't glove the point shot. Bit of a car crash in front after. pic.twitter.com/YLol4AOazP— Patrick Donnelly (@PatDonn12) April 2, 2022
Noteworthy: The Bruins won the shot attempt battle in the first period 28-11. Not one Columbus player had a positive corsi. Somehow the game was tied after one - hockey is weird.
The Blue Jackets took the lead less than a minute into the second period. Kuraly was able to keep the puck in the zone and pushed it up to Chinakhov. The young Russian took a sharp angle shot that went off the post and onto the stick of Danforth.
CBJ Goal 2-1: Danforth (Chinakhov, Kuraly) 0:42
The Bruins went a man down a few minutes after the goal. The Columbus power play has struggled in the absence of Werenski and Jenner. The second unit managed a couple of shots, but the game remained 2-1.
The Jackets continued to push on the Bruins and Elvis remained strong as the period hit the halfway point. Kudos to the good guys for being able to flip the script after a rough first period possession wise.
The Bruins tied up the game with less than two minutes remaining. They got the Blue Jackets scrambling and a tic tac toe play led to the tying goal. The Jackets’ defense left the backside open and Elvis had no chance.
BOS Goal 2-2: Marchand (Bergeron, DeBrusk) 18:13
Noteworthy: The Chinakhov-Kuraly-Danforth line had a CF% of 64 through two periods. They had one goal for and four scoring chances for. Kuraly was very engaged all night in his first trip back to Boston and his energy spilled over onto his line mates.
A largely uneventful first portion of the third period tilted back towards the Bruins. Merzlikins remained the difference between a tie game and a Bruins lead. With six minutes left in the period, the Bruins got their first power play of the night from a Peeke hooking call. With one second left in the penalty, a deflected shot through traffic made it past Elvis.
BOS Goal 3-2: Haula (Carlo, Lindhold) 16:06
Elvis headed to the bench for the extra skater, but the Jackets were never able to get possession. As a result, the Bruins got an easy empty netter.
BOS EN Goal 4-2: DeBrusk (Marchand, McAvoy) 18:00
Ugh. It’s been a while since I’ve seen that bad of a 6-on-5. Bruins win 5-2.
The Bruins have been on a tear as of late and the Jackets were able to put up a good fight. Players don’t play for moral victories, but it’s good to see a young team that’s out of the playoffs play well against a good team.
Elvis Merzlikins was good in this one and stopped 37 of 40 shots ... Chinakhov led the team in CF% and was noticeable all night ... The Kuraly line showed up tonight and hats off to Danforth for his goal ... The Laine-Roslovic-Voracek line, on the other hand, was horrid and combined for a CF% of 25.
One last congratulations to Nick Foligno for his 1,000th game in the NHL. The Bruins’ ceremony was thoughtful and classy. It’s just too bad the Jackets weren’t able to spoil the party.
The Blue Jackets are heading back to Columbus where they’ll face these same Bruins Monday night at 7pm.