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Second Round

Blue Jackets' best players come through on Game 2 OT winner

Effort leads to goal by Duchene that evens series with Bruins

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

BOSTON -- Look at the double-overtime winner, the touches, who got them and what they did to make them count.

It's symbolic of the night the Columbus Blue Jackets had at TD Garden on Saturday.

Artemi Panarin sent the puck behind the net. Matt Duchene tipped it up to Cam Atkinson, who settled it on the half-wall. Seth Jones got it and gave it back to Atkinson. He made a crisp cross-ice pass to Panarin for a one-timer. Duchene kicked the rebound to his stick and scored.

 

[RELATED: Complete Bruins vs. Blue Jackets series coverage]

 

Four players, with huge games in their own right, all contributing on the biggest goal of the Blue Jackets' season to date, one that gave them a 3-2 win against the Boston Bruins in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Second Round and evened the best-of-7 series.

All that was missing was a huge save from Sergei Bobrovsky on the other end just before the power-play goal.

The Blue Jackets earned a road split in Game 2 because their best players were just that: their best players in the most important game of their season.

Video: CBJ@BOS, Gm2: Duchene wins it in 2OT on power play

"It's awesome," Columbus captain Nick Foligno said. "I thought we were good right on through, but then those guys just punctuate it with what they can bring. You need that. You need to find a way to get your stars to score big goals, your big boys, and then the depth guys kind of fill in between."

There was no bigger star for the Blue Jackets in Game 2 than Bobrovsky, who has been their best player for the past two months. He made 29 saves, including on all 18 shots he faced after the second period, with 10 in the first overtime.

Timely saves too, like the one on Patrice Bergeron off a rebound from the slot at 8:24, two minutes after Bobrovsky had to act like a shortstop at Fenway Park and reach his glove back to stop the puck after it bounced awkwardly on the ice.

Bobrovsky made another dynamic save on Bergeron's one-timer from between the hash marks at 17:43 of the first overtime and then a difficult save on Danton Heinen's deflection of Zdeno Chara's shot 34 seconds later.

Video: CBJ@BOS, Gm2: Bobrovsky comes up clutch in overtime

"Unbelievable, as he is every night," Jones said. "It's not even the big saves, it's the crucial time he makes them for us. That first overtime, it could have been over three times for them and he stands tall in there as always. We go as he goes."

They go as Jones goes too. He was at his best in Game 2, playing 38:01 with two assists, five hits and three blocks.

Jones didn't get a point on the overtime winner, but the play doesn't have a chance if he doesn't use his long reach to keep the puck in at the blue line 25 seconds before Duchene scored.

Defensively, Jones was just as good with his close-outs, puck battles and clears.

"He's our engine as far as the tempo we play with," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "He puts up numbers offensively, but I think that something that really goes unnoticed is how consistently he is defending and making big plays at key times defensively."

Panarin scored two goals on skilled shots to tie the game twice. There was his one-timer from the top of the left circle 1:03 into the second period, a power-play goal that made it 1-1. He scored a 4-on-4 goal at 8:01 of the third period with a shot from the right circle into the far corner that led to overtime.

Atkinson had two assists, and Duchene scored the game-winner, the biggest goal of his life, he said.

"I fell to my knees, I didn't know what to do," Duchene said of his celebration. "I wasn't trying to slide and be Theo Fleury or anything, but I didn't know what to do. I was so excited."

Video: CBJ@BOS, Gm2: Panarin blasts one-timer for PPG

Foligno got to Duchene first and wrapped his arms around him. Then Panarin. Then Jones. Then Atkinson. The rest of the Blue Jackets spilled over the boards, and Bobrovsky eventually made his way down there for a mob scene in the Bruins zone.

Now this physical, grinding, old-school series goes to Columbus for Game 3 at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

"We're still going to need more," Tortorella said. "We're going to need more people going and we're going to need to get it to another level as we keep on going."

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