On the same night Boston lost one key defender to injury, another was busy finding his scoring touch.
Boston captain Zdeno Chara left after two periods with a lower-body injury, but Joe Corvo scored his first and second goals of the season -- the latter of which turned out to be the game-winner -- to lead the Bruins to a 5-3 comeback win against 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."
The win snapped a two-game skid for Boston (18-9-1), which had been 14-0-1 before losses to Winnipeg and Florida earlier in the week. Tim Thomas made 22 saves before he was replaced with Tuukka Rask – Boston coach Claude Julien said he had a "gut feeling” about the switch – at the start of the third. Rask stopped all 11 shots he faced to improve to 5-4-1 on the season.
"Timmy didn't look as comfortable as we've seen him," Julien said. "Everybody's entitled to one of those games. I don't think he was bad, but I just didn't feel he was comfortable in his net, and we decided to go with Tuukka for the third."
Before leaving with the injury, Chara scored his sixth goal of the season, tops among Boston's defensemen.
"Right now he's being evaluated," Julien said. "I don't know how serious it is. All I was told was that he wouldn't come back in the third and that he had a lower-body injury."
Columbus (8-17-4) saw a 2-0 lead evaporate for the second consecutive game. On Thursday, the Blue Jackets led Nashville 3-1 before the Predators scored twice in the final 1:36 and again in overtime for the win.
With the game tied 3-3 after two periods, the Bruins took command with power-play goals by Corvo and Chris Kelly. Corvo broke the tie with his second of the game, gathering the puck near the right boards and unleashing a bullet past goalie Curtis Sanford at 6:34.
"I guess I was putting a little pressure on myself," Corvo said of his scoring struggles. "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."
With 26 seconds to play, Kelly put the game on ice with his 11th of the season. With the understaffed Jackets stretched, Patrice Bergeron picked the puck up behind the net and passed to the low-crease, where a wide-open Kelly was waiting to finish coolly past Sanford's left shoulder.
"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."
For the first half period, it looked as if Boston's recent struggles would continue. Columbus captain Rick Nash opened the scoring at 5:46 with his ninth of the season after some efficient blue-line passing by the Jackets. James Wisniewski intercepted the puck in his own zone, and moved it to Vinny Prospal. He pushed it quickly forward to Nash, who snuck in behind the final defender, gathered the puck and finished under Thomas' glove.
With Milan Lucic off for hooking, Carter made it 2-0 at 11:09 when he followed his own shot to finish over a sprawled Thomas.
But the Jackets' early lead wouldn't survive the period. Corvo's long blast at 18:26 beat a well-screened Sanford, as did Nathan Horton's wrister from the slot 45 seconds later, sending the teams into the locker room tied at 2-2..
The Bruins picked up where they left off in the second. Chara had plenty of time to set up just beyond the left circle and fire a power-play blast past Sanford's left side just 58 seconds into the period for his sixth of the season.
But the Jackets got even at 16:05. After a faceoff in the Columbus zone, Samuel Pahlsson flicked a pass up to a streaking Umberger, who gloved the pass into his path and skated through the neutral zone. Umberger shielded the puck well from Dennis Seidenberg, skated in on Thomas and slid a wrister past him to make it 3-3.
"We tied the game up," Jackets coach Scott Arniel said, downplaying losing the two-goal lead. "We had a chance to win the hockey game."
Material from team and national media was used in this report.