The last thing you’d call it is “conventional,” but Monday’s road win in Boston counts as two points all the same.
These are two points well earned for the Blue Jackets, who embarked on a brief two-game road swing after spending nearly two weeks at Nationwide Arena. Up first was a hungry, confident Bruins team needing to pile up points and remain in the playoff picture, but the Blue Jackets have been playing quite well in their own right.
Boone Jenner scored twice – narrowly missing his first career hat trick on a couple of attempts – and the power play awakened for two goals in a 6-4 victory at TD Garden. The pair of power play goals marked the Blue Jackets’ first multi-power play goal game since their 5-2 win in Montreal on Jan. 26.
This game had ups, downs, ebbs, flows, curveballs and speed bumps, but the Blue Jackets buckled down and withstood a feverish push by the Bruins in the final period.
Jenner got the offensive party started with a power play goal at 10:52 of the first period, cashing in by redirecting a Cam Atkinson shot off his foot and into the Boston net.
Whether it was artful or fortuitous, the Jenner goal was part of a more directed shooting mentality by the Blue Jackets tonight, particularly on the power play. They fired 15 shots in the first period, had 27 through two periods, and gave themselves plenty of opportunities to score more than the six goals they finished with.
“We just threw a bunch of pucks in there, power play, even strength, and we got a couple of goals that way,” defenseman Ryan Murray said. “Our forwards did a great job of getting in front of their goalie and it helped us out offensively. We played with a lot of speed, our forwards were coming back fast and that’s hard to defend against.”
Loui Eriksson provided a quick answer for Boston only 15 seconds later, tipping in a point shot from Torey Krug and bringing the Bruins even at 1-1.
And on the first shift of the second period, Jenner got it right back for Columbus.
Brandon Dubinsky started it with a strong play in the neutral zone to lead Seth Jones up the ice, and Jones hit the offensive blue line with speed and some help in the form of Jenner as the trailer.
Jenner took a quick drop pass from Jones, walked into the high slot and ripped a shot over Jonas Gustavsson at the :21 mark.
Matt Beleskey, who also scored two goals in the game, tied it up for Boston only 2:36 after the Jenner go-ahead goal. From that point on, though, the Blue Jackets controlled the second period and got a pair of goals later in the frame to take a two-goal lead into the break after 40 minutes. William Karlsson scored on a turnaround slap shot at 10:17, and at 17:21, Scott Hartnell executed a high tip to perfection by getting a piece of Murray’s flip wrister from the center point – the second power play goal for the Blue Jackets on their third chance of the game.
A weird sequence of events, though fortunate for Columbus, boosted the visitors’ lead to 5-3 with 5:31 to play. Hartnell found a loose puck in the right circle, tried to get it on goal but instead hit an errant stick on the ice, and the stick hit Gustavsson before Brandon Saad fired in his team-leading 22nd goal of the season.
It was a little bend-but-don’t-break down the stretch for the Blue Jackets, and after a late goal by the Bruins to pull within a goal once again, Dalton Prout sailed in a nearly full-ice empty netter to seal the deal.
“It’s a character win against a tough hockey team,” Saad said. “We were battling all game.”
"I thought everybody grinded. We wanted to try to play big tonight, and I think we did," coach John Tortorella said. "We didn't panic. You knew there was going to be a push, but then we started forechecking again and winning some puck battles."