In the absence of John Tortorella (who suffered two fractured ribs during the team’s outdoor practice on Friday), associate coach Craig Hartsburg served as bench boss against the Boston Bruins tonight at TD Garden.
And after a scoreless first period, the Bruins raced out to an early 2-0 lead in the second period, scoring twice in the first 3:34 - but the Blue Jackets fought back and tallied two goals of their own to even the score later in the frame.
The visitors were unable to break the tie during regulation and the overtime period, however, and fell 3-2 in the shootout. Torey Krug beat Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo in the shootout's third round to seal the game for the Bruins.
“I think a learning process for our team is how to manage the puck, and I thought the first period, we were great,” Hartsburg said after the game. “The second period, we got away from it for a bit, but then after that we were much better again. Against good teams, you've got to make the right decision (with the puck).”
A poor decision with the puck allowed Brad Marchand to open the scoring for the Bruins just 32 seconds into the second period.
A bit of miscommunication between the Jackets sent the home team on a 3-on-2 and, in tic-tac-toe fashion, Patrice Bergeron fed the puck to Ryan Spooner who found Marchand to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead. About three minutes later, David Pastrnak added on, putting the Bruins up by two.
But the momentum shifted in favor of the Jackets after Dalton Prout scored his first goal of the season.
Prout, coming off the point, found a lane and beat Bruins goaltender Jonas Gustavsson from a sharp angle to put the Jackets on the board at 6:58 of the frame.
And just 3:17 after Prout’s goal, Kerby Rychel tipped a Justin Falk shot to even the score at two apiece. The goal marked Rychel’s second goal of the season and second multi-point game (1-1-2) in the last three contests.
Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno, one of Rychel’s line mates, made his return to the lineup tonight after suffering from an upper body injury and missing six straight games.
“You’re happy to come away with a point, especially against a good team,” Foligno said. “But, man, I just thought that game was ours for the taking. All facets of our game, minus our power play, were outstanding tonight and that’s disappointing, because that’s how you win games.
"Sometimes you've got to rely on your power play and it’s a privilege to be on it, and we just didn’t get the job done for our team. It’s unfortunate because we had the opportunities.”
There were plenty of chances, including a 4-on-3 during the overtime period, but the Jackets were unable to capitalize. They went 0-for-4 on the evening.
“Boston’s a real good team,” Hartsburg said. “I thought we competed hard, worked hard for 60 minutes and we had no passengers tonight. We got down and that was a huge goal by (Prout) to get us back in it, but we battled all night long."
In net for the Blue Jackets, Korpisalo made 32 saves including a few of the highlight reel variety to allow the Jackets to battle back and pick up a point.
Additionally, the Jackets' penalty kill unit was solid tonight, killing off all five of the Bruins chances.
“We did a real good job (on the penalty kill), and that’s a top power play in the league,” Hartsburg said. “I thought our guys did a good job with the structure. We blocked shots and obviously (Korpisalo) had a lot to do with the PK as well."