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Need to Know: Bruins at Blue Jackets

Despite last-second loss and injuries, Boston encouraged by four-game points streak

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins /

BOSTON - There is no denying the sour taste that was left in the Bruins' mouths following Saturday night's last-second overtime loss to Los Angeles.

Tyler Toffoli's miracle winner as time expired put a damper on an otherwise strong effort from the Bruins, which earned them a point and extended their points streak to four games (2-0-2). The stretch has been an encouraging one for Boston, considering the injuries that have left the B's roster in a constant state of flux for much of the first three weeks.

"To get three out of four points is a positive," said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, referring to the last two games against San Jose and L.A. "You always want four, you're at home. But it could have gone either way…those things happen. We're pleased, but certainly not content, if that makes sense."

The Bruins gathered at Warrior Ice Arena on Sunday morning for a film session rather than a full on-ice practice, allowing Cassidy to highlight some of the positive things his team has been doing of late, particularly in the defensive end.

"We're getting better every day as a team," said David Pastrnak. "I think we had a strong game [Saturday] against a heavy team. It's always tough to play against a West team, but I think we've gotten a lot better in the last couple weeks."

Video: Bruins turn focus to Blue Jackets

While Cassidy has been pleased with the way the Bruins have improved defensively since the season's first few games, he has seen a dip in their offensive production. Boston has scored just three goals over the past two games as it adjusts to being without David Krejci, who has missed three straight contests with an upper-body injury.

"We want to get back to our identity of being hard to play against and still have our offense," said Cassidy. "We're getting some of that identity offensively and make sure we don't lose our ability to score goals."

Opposing View

The Blue Jackets are off to a good start with a 7-4-0 record, which places them third in the Metropolitan Division (14 points), two points shy of first-place New Jersey. Columbus fell, 4-1, to St. Louis on Saturday night.

Artemi Panarin, acquired from Chicago during the offseason, paces Columbus with 10 points (goal, nine assists), while Sonny Milano leads the way with five goals. Young blue liner Seth Jones is second on the team with eight points and headlines a strong defensive corps that also includes Jack Johnson and Zach Werenski.

"They've got a D corps that gets up the ice," said Cassidy. "They're gonna attack in waves, they do a good job with that. They're good around the net, get to the net and get second chances. For us, to have success there we've got to get on top of their D and get behind them, play in their end.

"Being patient with [the puck], I think that's the formula with a team against Columbus that has a good D corps but wants to break up plays and gets going."

Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is 6-2-0 with a 1.86 goals against average (fourth in the NHL) and .940 save percentage (sixth).

Wait, There's More

Nash OK: Riley Nash retreated to the dressing room after being slammed face-first into the boards Saturday night against the Kings to have a cut patched up. The center later returned to the game without any serious damage.

"He got cut," said Cassidy. "I don't know if they had to take him to the [concussion] room…he was fine, not concussed or anything like that."

Tuukka Time: Cassidy confirmed that Tuukka Rask will make the start in goal against Columbus. Zane McIntyre was recalled from Providence on an emergency basis Sunday afternoon and will serve as the backup goaltender against Columbus.

Milestones Ahead: David Backes is one point shy of the 500th of his career, while Brad Marchand is one goal shy of his 200th career goal.


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