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Bruins Take Two Points, But ‘Need To Be Better’

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

BOSTON — The Bruins grabbed the two points that they needed on Saturday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets, even if it took Ryan Spooner’s shootout winner to ultimately get the 3-2 win.

Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak gave them a 2-0 lead early in the second. Columbus wiped that out quickly in a span of about three minutes. Spooner and Torey Krug both scored in the shootout, with Jonas Gustavsson stopping both Columbus shots he faced 1-on-1.

“I think the two points are really important at this time of the year,” said Head Coach Claude Julien. “But it’s not so much the two goals that we gave up — it’s the way we played tonight again, you know — we need to be better.”

“I thought our intensity was good, but not good enough and we need to be better with that. When you’re a little bit more intense, so is your execution, and I thought our execution was average tonight.”

The Bruins have just one loss in their past five games, but they know they haven’t been playing their best hockey.

“We’re going through a little bit of a stretch right now where our execution isn’t at it’s best, so we need to up our intensity and that should take care of a lot of things in our game that’s not where it should be right now,” said Julien.

Playing on a line with David Krejci and Loui Eriksson, Pastrnak potted a rebound goal with his linemates both assisting on his fifth of the season at 3:34 into the second.

That put the Bruins up 2-0 and in a good position with a two-goal lead at home. They’ve been wanting to boost that record — which is now at 11-12-2 on the season.

Dalton Prout made it a one-goal game at 6:58 into the second, when his drive from the goal line squeezed through Gustavsson.

Columbus made it 2-2 with 9:52 to go in the second, thanks to Nick Foligno and some scrambling by the Bruin in their zone.

“I think throughout the course of 82 games, sometimes it may not be there and that’s not an excuse,” said Krug. “It should be there every night because we’re professionals and we expect that out of ourselves, especially in our home building. Maybe it has been lacking a little bit, but what’s important is we came out with the win.”

Gustavsson wasn’t originally slated to get the start in goal.

“He got the news at the last minute that he was playing,” said Julien. “Tuukka was scheduled to play and we made a change there this afternoon for certain reasons, that Tuukka maybe wasn’t 100 percent — nothing major, obviously he was our backup.”

“So [Gustavsson] had to go in there and for a guy that found out just as he got to the rink this afternoon, he did well and he was well-prepared.”

“Obviously you got to try to be ready no matter what the situation is, you know, anything can happen in a game,” said the netminder. “So, obviously prepared maybe a little bit different, but in general, it’s pretty much the same. So when I got here, it was just about doing the same routines and all that and play the game.”

Gustavsson wasn’t happy with the first goal he let in from the odd angle. He was trying a new goaltending technique — he said he doesn’t have it done pat yet, and put that goal on himself.

He was solid though, despite the puck bouncing around all night, making 31 saves on 33 shots. He helped the Bruins go a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill, including a 4-on-3 situation for Columbus at the start of overtime.

“Hell of a job by Gus,” said Krug. “He bailed us out numerous times, me specifically many times tonight. So I was lucky that he was back there for us, and he’s always prepared. It’s what makes him a great backup in this league and we’re lucky he’s on our side.”

The Bruins made lineup changes for the game, with Joonas Kemppainen slotting back into the lineup after being a scratch against Vancouver, and Brett Connolly sitting as a healthy scratch.

With the switches, Spooner was placed on the right wing, alongside Patrice Bergeron and Marchand. It marked the first time the left shot had ever played his off wing.

“If they want me to play on the wing then I’ll play there,” said Spooner. “I don’t mind it; I haven’t played there in, I think, 20 games, but it’s something I think will help me if I can play center and on the wing, so I don’t really care.”

“I just do what [Coach] wants me to and I just go out there and play.”

From the line’s first shift of the night, Spooner showed jump, helping generate two chances for that line in the first few minutes.

The trio converted for the game’s first goal just 32 seconds into the second period. Bergeron led the rush up ice and hit Spooner with a cross-ice pass down the left wing. Spooner completed the tic-tac-toe passing when he zip-lined a feed to Marchand crashing the net.

Marchand’s 19th of the season put the Bruins up 1-0 and put him on a four-game goal scoring streak.

“I thought we clicked right away,” Marchand said of his line. “I thought we had a lot of really good opportunities. Spoons made a really nice play on the goal. I thought as the game went on we were more comfortable with one another and it’s the first time we’ve played together, so we have some work to do but I thought it worked out well.”

“We’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with certain things against certain teams and certainly looking to hopefully get some stability here down the road, but right now we’re just looking at all our options,” Julien said of the line.

For his efforts, Spooner wound up with an assist on Marchand’s tally and the shootout winner.

“He looked great. He was moving his feet well. He was creating a lot, making some great plays with his smarts and his vision,” said Bergeron. “We were trying to keep playing the way that we usually play, me and Marchy, and he was feeling really well from it.”

Even if the game wasn’t perfect for Boston, they left with two points and the fans left happy.

“It’s not always going to be easy, but we showed some resilience all game,” said Bergeron. “I thought the third period was a lot better, and we found a way to win the game, and right now it’s big points for us.”

The Black & Gold now have just two games before the NHL’s All-Star Break, first playing in Philadelphia on Monday night and then back at TD Garden against Anaheim on Tuesday.

“We need to be better,” said Julien. “Let’s not be satisfied here with what happened here tonight. The two points are huge for us, we’re happy with that, but we’re also realistic in knowing that we’re a team that can play much better.”

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