The Blue Jackets extended their point streak to 12 games with a 2-1 overtime win vs. Boston at TD Garden on Thursday night.
Game in a Paragraph
Columbus played a solid game all the way around in an even contest. Boston took a 1-0 lead in the second period with a power-play goal but the Jackets countered with a tally early in the third. It was probably a game that deserved overtime, and in the extra period, Pierre-Luc Dubois needed just 52 seconds to give Columbus the victory.
Video: Dubois nets OT winner to lift Blue Jackets to victory
Quote of the Game
Head coach John Tortorella: "We had some major blocked shots at key times. I thought Elvis was solid when he needed to be. I just thought we played a good game right on through. It's not like we went in the back door. We held them to 12 scoring chances. At times against their top line, there was a struggle or two, but right on through our lineup I just thought we played a good, solid, structured game."
- Sonny Milano scored a goal in his first game since Dec. 14. It was his fourth tally of the year.
- Elvis Merzlikins turned in another solid start in his second game in a row as the team's No. 1 goalie in the absence of Joonas Korpisalo, making 25 saves.
- Dubois scored his team-high 14th goal of the season in OT.
Columbus thought it had taken a 1-0 lead just 17 seconds into the game as Gus Nyquist put home the rebound of a Nick Foligno shot, but Boston challenged for goaltender interference and it was upheld when the referees ruled that Boone Jenner had not allowed Tuukka Rask to make the stop.
From there, Columbus kept up the pressure and played a good road period, with a 9-8 edge in shots. Merzlikins' best save came with the Bruins in transition, as he used his blocker to turn away a shot by Anders Bjork.
The Blue Jackets had some solid chances in the second, including Zach Werenski hitting the crossbar while shorthanded, a Jenner shot that caught Rask facing the wrong way and nearly banked off the goalie and into the net, and a late drive by Sonny Milano that got through Rask but sat in the crease behind him before being covered.
But it was Boston that left the period with a 1-0 lead thanks to a power-play goal. The NHL's third-best power play coming into the game took advantage, as the team won the draw and Torey Krug fed David Pastrnak for one-timer above the left circle that flew past Merzlikins' glove just four seconds into the man advantage. It was Pastrnak's NHL-best 30th goal of the season.
Columbus knotted things at 1 just 2:06 into the third period as Milano got on the board. A long shift in the offensive zone for the Blue Jackets by a line featuring Milano, Nathan Gerbe, Alexander Wennberg, Vladislav Gavrikov and David Savard ended with a fortuitous bounce, as Milano's centering feed from low on the right went off the skate of Boston defenseman Matt Grzelcyk -- who was defending Gerbe's cut to the net -- and past Rask.
Merzlikins kept it a tie game shortly thereafter with back-to-back fantastic saves on a Boston transition chance. First he stopped Bjork alone in front, then recovered to his right post to deny the follow-up chance by the onrushing Par Lindholm.
The teams stayed tied through 60 minutes, leading to overtime. Just 52 seconds in Columbus got the winner, as Seth Jones raced the puck up the ice and fed Dubois, who slammed home the puck to complete the 2-on-1 and give Columbus the win.
1. There aren't too many defensemen in the NHL who can make the move Jones did -- Tortorella called it "a big-league play" -- to set up the winning goal. After defending for nearly a minute to start overtime, Jones claimed the puck behind the net in the defensive zone, beat David Krejci to the wall, cut around Pastrnak and was gone, using his speed to rocket past the Bruins forward before setting up Dubois for the winner. "There's so much ice, I'm just trying to go," Jones said. He made up his mind to make the pass, getting it around Charlie McAvoy for Dubois' finish. "I saw him getting speed and saw he was attacking a forward, so it was a footrace he could win," Dubois said. "It was a nice pass, and I stuck the finish."
2. This might have been the Blue Jackets' best game of the year, as Columbus was on the details of its game for the entire 60 minutes. There just weren't any bad minutes while playing against one of the best teams in the NHL in what is a hard building to play in. "This building, this team, when you come in here, you know it's not going to be an easy game," Dubois said. "They're one of the best teams in the NHL right now. It's never easy to play here. They play a physical game, they play heavy." But the Blue Jackets stood toe-to-toe with Boston, and there were no passengers in another game where Tortorella focused on the team aspect of the play. "Everybody contributed in finding a way tonight," Tortorella said.
3. If there was a strategic key to the game, it was how Columbus was able to keep Boston's top line of Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron from running rampant. The Bruins' trio, which features two of the top four scorers in the NHL, had their moments but by and large the Jackets limited their chances. Tortorella matched up a line featuring Nyquist, Foligno and Jenner against the trio and was able to use both of his top two pairs against them. According to Natural Stat Trick, the Bruins' trio had just one high-danger chance at 5-on-5. "They're all creative, they all work off each other and feed off each other really well," Jones said. "Just trying to take time and space away. It doesn't work all the time -- they're still going to find ways to score -- but you have to do the best you can."
The 12-game point streak is tied for the third longest in CBJ history. During the point streak, Columbus is 4-0-3 in road contests. The seven-game road point streak is tied for fourth-longest in franchise history. ... The Blue Jackets have won four straight when giving up the first goal after starting 0-10-5 when down 1-0 this season. ... Gavrikov is plus-13 in the past 14 games. ... Dubois has a 3-7-10 line in his last 10 contests. ... Wennberg has three assists in the past two games. ... Merzlikins has 61 saves on 63 shots against in the past two games. On the year, he has a 2.92 goals-against average and .905 save percentage. ... The Bruins now have an NHL-most 11 overtime losses, with Columbus second in the league with eight. Columbus improved to 6-8 when the game goes extra time. ... Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara, who debuted in 1997-98 with the New York Islanders, played a game in his fourth different decade.
Columbus lost a forward to injury but regained one, as Alexandre Texier was replaced in the lineup by Milano. In addition, Scott Harrington returned while Gabriel Carlsson was a scratch along with forward Justin Scott and injured goalie Joonas Korpisalo.
The Blue Jackets return home for a Saturday matinee against San Jose at 1 p.m. before heading out west for a four-game road trip.