At the very least, the Blue Jackets and Bruins played a wildly entertaining game last night at Nationwide Arena.
It was your ideal 60-minute engagement between two clubs that share no fondness for each other: a sold-out crowd, heated exchanges after nearly every whistle, an intense bout between Jared Boll and Shawn Thornton and more. The only sour note was the final score: the Bruins escaped Columbus with a 5-3 victory, their first in three games.
As one could expect from a game thusly described, there was no shortage of drama. Rick Nash opened the scoring at 5:46 of the first period, taking a stretch pass from Vinny Prospal and scoring on Tim Thomas. Jeff Carter’s power-play goal at 11:09 gave Columbus a two-goal lead, but the Bruins answered with two goals in 45 seconds to knot it up 2-2 after one period.
The Bruins’ momentum carried over the second period as Zdeno Chara (more on him shortly) whistled a slap shot over Curtis Sanford’s shoulder to give Boston its first lead just 58 seconds in. Columbus answered again, thanks to a determined goal from R.J. Umberger with 3:55 left in the period – barging down the left wing with Dennis Seidenberg on his back, Umberger shoveled the puck five-hole on Thomas. It was a goal that apparently did not sit well with Boston coach Claude Julien, who sat Thomas in the third period of a tie game.
Joe Corvo scored his second power-play goal of the night at 6:44 of the third period. The defenseman fired a slap shot from the right wing boards that eluded Sanford and gave the Bruins a 4-3 lead that they would not relinquish. Chris Kelly’s 11th goal of the season came on the power play with 25.6 seconds remaining for the 5-3 final.
The most peculiar storyline in tonight’s game was that of Thomas, who kept his team afloat in a period that could have drowned them. With the Blue Jackets leading 2-0 and operating on a double-minor power play, Prospal scooped up a loose puck in the crease and looked to have an open net – but Thomas lunged with his glove and took away a 3-0 lead.
After reversing the Bruins’ fortunes in the hockey game, Thomas was replaced by Tuukka Rask to start the third period.
- Columbus is now 5-5-2 all-time against Boston, including a 3-3-1 mark at Nationwide Arena.
- Columbus opened the scoring for the 13th time this season tonight. The club is now 7-4-2 in those games, 4-1-1 when leading after the first period and 6-2-1 when leading after 40 minutes of play.
- The Blue Jackets scored the first goal of the game for the 14th time this season. The club is now 7-5-2 in those games, while going 3-8-2 when tied after the first period and 1-6-2 when tied after two periods.
- Nash scored his first goal in three games with his team-leading ninth of the season tonight. He has points in four of the last five games, with 2-2-4 during that stretch. He has collected 5-4-9 the last 11 games after being held to 1-3-4 the previous 10 games.
- Prospal picked up an assist on Nash’s goal to give him points in three-straight games. He has points in 18 of 29 games this season and leads the team in assists (16) and points (23).
- James Wisniewski has points in four of the last five games after notching a pair of assists tonight, his fourth multi-point outing of the season. He has 0-5-5 in those games to go along with points in 11 of the last 20 games (1-14-15).
- Carter has goals in back-to-back games after scoring his fifth of the season tonight. His goal Thursday against Nashville snapped a six-game skid. He has 5-2-7 the last 10 games after being held pointless the previous six games.
- Umberger has goals in two of the last three games after scoring his fifth of the season tonight. He had been held goalless the previous four games. He has 2-1-3 the last three games after being held to 2-0-2 the previous 14 games.
vs. Vancouver Canucks
Nationwide Arena | Columbus, Ohio
Tuesday, 7 p.m.
TV: FOX Sports Ohio (HD)
Radio: 97.1 The Fan & BlueJackets.com