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Game #70: Blue Jackets drop physical contest to Bruins 3-2 in overtime

Here’s what happened.

Boston Bruins v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images

The Columbus Blue Jackets, losers of six straight, returned home to Nationwide Arena on the first night of a back to back to face the surging Boston Bruins.

The Blue Jackets made several lineup changes, including hometown prospect Carson Meyer making his Blue Jackets and NHL debut.

In addition to Meyer (in for Yegor Chinakhov), Zach Werenski returned while Elvis Merzlikins got the start in net.

Brad Larsen returned to the team while interim coach Pascal Vincent was placed on the COVID list.

Here’s what happened.

Scoring Recap

The Blue Jackets opened the game on the front foot with the first couple shots, but Gustav Nyquist was denied on the doorstep by Linus Ullmark. Continuing their early pressure, Emil Bemstrom was able to give the Jackets the early lead as he danced through the Bruins’ defense and beat Ullmark high over his glove shoulder.

Columbus goal (1-0): Bemstrom from Voracek, 4:31

Carson Meyer took a penalty at 5:32 for tripping which gave the Bruins the first power play of the night. The Bruins’ power play lasted just 41 seconds as Charlie McAvoy was boxed for holding, nullifying the man advantage. Neither team was able to score on the 4 on 4, the Bruins killed the abbreviated penalty, and we returned to full strength action.

With 7:03 to go in the first, Brad Marchand was shoved to the ice after getting a stick high on Merzlikins. Seconds later, Jake Bean blocked a shot from Marchand in the ankle and immediately went down the tunnel with assistance by the training staff. The Bruins began to impose their will late in the period, but Merzlikins stood tall. With 5:15 to go, a post-whistle scrum led to Travis Frederic and Jakub Voracek going to the box for roughing. It took two seconds for Brad Marchand to be boxed for interference, giving Columbus a four on three.

Boston killed the penalty and, with 1:28 to go, was able to equalize the game. A huge hit from Marchand on Peeke led to a rush up the ice where Jake DeBrusk was able to beat Merzlikins on a breakaway. An absolutely filthy play from Marchand, smashing Peeke’s head off the glass long after the puck was gone.

Boston goal (1-1): DeBrusk from McAvoy, 18:32

With 35.8 to go in the first, Nick Foligno was boxed for tripping Bjorkstrand as the game was teetering on the edge of spilling out of control. The first period ended with the game tied 1-1 and a confrontation between Bergeron and Bjorkstrand long after the whistle blew.

The Bruins killed the rest of the power play to open the second period as Andrew Peeke returned to the bench. At the 2:25 mark, Vladislav Gavrikov took a double minor for high sticking Taylor Hall. With 2:25 remaining in the double minor, Boston took a penalty as Hampus Lindholm was boxed for holding. After four on four for two minutes, the Jackets did enough to get back to full strength. However, a screened shot beat Elvis Merzlikins with 12:08 remaining.

Boston goal (1-2): Smith from Coyle and McAvoy, 7:52

The Blue Jackets responded well after the goal, with an extended shift in the Boston zone but were unable to find the tying goal. As we ticked to the final few minutes of the period, the Bruins began to exert full offensive control with multiple long shifts in the Blue Jackets zone. With 6:07 to go in the second, Elvis covered a loose puck and Marchand skated by Merzlikins and Cole Sillinger took exception, drawing a scrum and sending Marchand to the box for roughing where he was joined by Andrew Peeke.

On the four on four, Boston drew a penalty as Sean Kuraly was boxed for hooking and giving the Bruins a four on three. The Blue Jackets killed the penalties and late in the period, found their equalizer. Zach Werenski was able to capitalize on a cycle to tie the game at two with a shot that beat Ullmark high glove side.

Columbus goal (2-2): Werenski from Voracek and Laine, 19:44

Boston challenged the goal looking for a high stick prior to the goal, but an interminable review upheld the goal and sent Boston to the penalty kill for delay of game. The Blue Jackets would open the third with 1:45 of power play time.

The Bruins killed the remaining power play time to open the third. Andrew Peeke took a two minute minor for roughing with 16:08 remaining as he got a glove in Marchand’s face and shoved him to the ice. With 1:14 remaining in the power play, the Blue Jackets drew yet another penalty to nullify a Bruins penalty as Patrice Bergeron was boxed for hooking Nyquist. Nothing come of the penalties as we returned to even strength.

As we crossed the midway point of the period, the teams continued to trade end to end chances but both goalies stood tall to keep the game tied at two. The Bruins rang a shot off the post, but at the final TV timeout with 5:31 to go, the game remained tied. With 4:33 to go, Oliver Bjorkstrand split the Boston defense but was denied by Ullmark. The teams traded chances and hits through the final minutes but eventually regulation ended tied 2-2.

The Blue Jackets got caught on a bad exit in overtime and Hampus Lindholm found Jake DeBrusk who beat Elvis Merzlikins for the overtime game winner far side.

Final

Boston Bruins 3 Columbus Blue Jackets 2 (OT)

Final Thoughts

Stick taps to local product Carson Meyer making his NHL debut. Big moment for the rookie, even if he didn’t get as many shifts as he should have.

In an incredibly physical game, the Blue Jackets responded well. Players like Andrew Peeke, Vladislav Gavrikov, and Cole Sillinger specifically made themselves known every shift. Great response from the players you want to see respond. Cole Sillinger is gonna be a dude.

Also good to see Emil Bemstrom start in a top six role and score, as well as Jake Christiansen in the lineup. Now is the time to call up prospects and give them bigger roles to see what we have going forward. Might as well roll the kids and see what you have.

NHL Player Safety and NHL officiating needs an overhaul. Players should not be allowed to be hit with impunity while officials stand idly by. Peeke tonight, the affair between Jay Beagle and the Coyotes, countless others this season - officials are unwilling to call the rule book and players are put at risk as a result. NHL officials have a tough job, but their job is to make tough calls regardless if it means one team takes six penalties in a night while the other takes two. Poorly officiated games where players are beaten for being too skilled and goals are scored while players are clutching their skull on the ice should not be the norm and should not be accepted of a professional sports league. Do better, NHL.

Brad Larsen had Patrik Laine taking faceoffs on the power play and at 4 on 4. Interesting wrinkle instead of having a center take the faceoff and then rush off for Nyquist.

The Blue Jackets drew three penalties to nullify three different Bruins power plays, which is really cool - not sure I’ve ever seen the team do that before.

For the love of god, start Berube in two of the remaining three games this week. Elvis has appeared in 11 of the last 12 games. There’s no need to work him to death in a season where the team is 15 points out with 13 to play.

Up Next

The Columbus Blue Jackets take on the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, April 5, 2022 in Philadelphia. Faceoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM EDT.