BOSTON - The Stanley Cup Playoffs are certainly not for the faint of heart.
That was made abundantly clear on Saturday night when the Bruins and Columbus Blue Jackets combined for six goals over the final 15 minutes, turning Game 5 of their best-of-seven, second-round series into one for the ages.
David Pastrnak struck for two of those six tallies - including the winning marker with 1:28 to go - and Tuukka Rask made 33 saves to lift the Bruins to 4-3 victory and a 3-2 series lead.
"Anyone with cardiac problems certainly got tested this evening," said David Backes, who assisted on David Krejci's second-period goal that opened the scoring. "It was great to be a part of, but I don't know that we needed to make it that interesting. That being said, we came out on the right side of it and lesson learned for next time."
Here are some notes and observations from the B's Game 5 victory:
Pastrnak, Top Line Soar
It has not been the easiest postseason for Pastrnak, who has battled through some inconsistencies with his goal scoring and puck play. But Boston's leading regular-season scorer was back in business on Saturday night.
After picking up a goal and an assist in Game 4, Pastrnak took it up a notch, tallying two huge goals in the third period - first to extend Boston's lead to 3-1 at 11:16 by ripping a wrister by Sergei Bobrovsky, and then to break a 3-3 tie with 1:28 remaining by tipping home the eventual winner off a feed from Brad Marchand.
"It was awesome. He was buzzing," said Rask. "They've been playing him hard and not giving him any time and space, and it's tough. When you're a player who wants the puck and wants those chances, it's not easy when everybody is on you all the time on the ice, not giving you any room. But he's the kind of player when he gets that room, he's going to make them pay, and today he did."
Overall, the Bruins top line built off its success from Game 4, with Marchand adding a goal and two assists and Patrice Bergeron picking up a helper on Marchand's marker at 4:51 of the third period.
"I think it was a great game, we were building our game through those periods," said Pastrnak, who was a plus-3 with a game-high seven shots on goal. "Marchy came up big for us, had an unbelievable game. We picked each other up. It's great to be a part of this line. A lot of positive things, every single shift."
Video: CBJ@BOS, Gm5: Pastrnak redirects late go-ahead goal
Rask Shuts Door Again
Rask was stellar once again, turning away 33 Columbus shots, including a sprawling leg stop with 15 seconds to play to barely deny Cam Atkinson's point-blank one-timer as the Blue Jackets pushed for the equalizer with their net empty.
"Just a bang-bang play," said Rask. "I think it was kind of a broken play. They got it to the front of the net, and I just extended my leg and thank goodness that wasn't in."
Boston's ace netminder also made a ridiculous left pad stop on Nick Foligno in the second period, turning away the Blue Jackets' captain, who was all alone on the door step.
"Tuukks was our best player the entire night. He was unbelievable," said Charlie McAvoy. "They had a ton of Grade-A's, and he bailed us out. He had another one there with the net empty, back door, and I don't know how he does it, but we owe a lot to him to be up 3-2 right now."
Video: CBJ@BOS, Gm5: Rask uses pad to deny Foligno
McAvoy Lays It on the Line
McAvoy made his own stop in the final seconds with a selfless display of sacrifice, as the blue liner slid and stuck out his skate to block down an Artemi Panarin one-timer attempt with four seconds remaining.
"That was a great block," said Rask. "We kind of turned the puck over a couple of times there. Definitely didn't want to do that, but he sacrificed and made a great block. He's one of the best players shooting the one-timer, so who knows what would have happened."
The 21-year-old limped back to the bench, clearly in pain, but said following the game that he was "fine."
"I wasn't going to be able to get my stick out there," said McAvoy, who played a team-high 24:31. "He did a good job of popping out to an area, so I kind of just dove and got lucky that it hit me."
Video: CBJ@BOS, Gm5: McAvoy lays out to block Panarin's shot
Carlo Locks It Down
Boston's other young defensive stud made a massive play on the winning goal. Brandon Carlo, quickly becoming one of the league's top shutdown blue liners, wreaked havoc on Panarin as he raced towards the Bruins end with just over 1:30 remaining and eventually knocked the puck away from the speedy winger.
Carlo then delivered an outlet pass through the neutral zone to Marchand, who found Pastrnak streaking to the net for the winner.
"Brando's been doing it not just all playoff long, all year long," said Torey Krug. "He doesn't get the credit he deserves; he ends more plays than I've seen by anybody in this league, to be honest. Then he gets rewarded with an assist on the game-winning goal.
"It's a big moment for our team. He takes one of the best one-on-one players in the world and ends a one-one-one and off we go and get a goal. A great job by him."
Video: Backes, Krug, Carlo and Chara react to win
A Wild Ride
The Bruins were playing a lights-out defensive game until the 10:33 mark of the third when a harmless Seth Jones attempt from the side of the net somehow found its way in between Rask and the left post. The goal was not called on the ice, but after a lengthy review it was determined that the puck crossed the line to bring Columbus within 2-1.
"I'm just trying to cover the post," said Rask. "I think it hit my pad or something, and then when the puck came loose, it was not in, so I didn't see it. I'm sure it was in, because they looked for it for 10 minutes, so I've got to trust that."
Pastrnak responded just 43 seconds later to make it 3-1, but Columbus was undeterred. The Blue Jackets scored two goals in a span of 1:51 to knot the score at 3. Nevertheless, Boston did not flounder.
"You've got to be happy with that," said Bergeron. "It was a great response. That's playoff hockey there for you. It's not always going to be a perfect game, but you have to find ways."
Video: CBJ@BOS, Gm5: Bruins, Blue Jackets race to the finish