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Second Round

Blue Jackets believe 'we'll be back here for Game 7'

Tortorella confident Columbus will respond after being pushed to brink by Bruins in Boston

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

BOSTON -- John Tortorella is giving predictions again.

"We'll be back here for Game 7," the Columbus Blue Jackets coach said defiantly after a 4-3 loss to the Boston Bruins in Game 5 put them on the brink of elimination from the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Second Round.

Tortorella said the exact same thing in the first round last season after the Blue Jackets lost Game 5 to the Washington Capitals, 4-3 in overtime.


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


Columbus lost Game 6 at home, 6-3, and did not get to play Game 7 at Washington.

Why should this be different? Why should Tortorella and the Blue Jackets believe they will be able to get this series back to Boston for Game 7 on Wednesday by winning Game 6 at home on Monday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS)?

Growth. Confidence. Resolve. Those are just a few reasons.

Last season, the Blue Jackets were trying to buoy their belief without the experience of ever having won a round in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They instead were taught a tough lesson by the eventual Stanley Cup champions.

This season, the Blue Jackets already know they have what it takes to win in the playoffs, having swept the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round. Columbus has every reason to believe it's as good, if not better, than Boston.

"[Game 6] is going to allow us to showcase that we're a team that's grown, and we're going to have to, obviously, with the situation we're in," Columbus captain Nick Foligno said. "I'm expecting everyone's best, and it should be a great atmosphere."

The feeling Tortorella and the Blue Jackets have now would undoubtedly be different if the third period Saturday unfolded in their favor.

The Blue Jackets had nothing going offensively through 50 minutes. They weren't giving up much either, but it's hard to win when you don't score, and they entered the last 10 minutes trailing 2-0, getting swallowed up by the Bruins defense and stonewalled by goalie Tuukka Rask the rare times they found some space to operate.

Video: CBJ@BOS, Gm5: Bruins, Blue Jackets race to the finish

"I loved the energy level, but we have to make plays too," Tortorella said.

Seth Jones didn't so much make a play to score the Blue Jackets' first goal as much as he was just trying to make something happen by shooting the puck toward the net.

"I saw some bodies and sticks," Jones said. "Just trying to throw it in there, trying to create something."

His shot from the right side was redirected by Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk and went inside the right post to make it 2-1 with 9:27 remaining. It was confirmed as a goal after video review.

Finally there was life for the Blue Jackets, who ended Rask's shutout streak at 101:46.

"We needed to see something go in for sure on him," Jones said. "That gave us energy."

It didn't look like it was going to last.

David Pastrnak gave Boston a 3-1 lead 43 seconds later with the first of his two third-period goals, capitalizing on an odd-man rush six seconds after Rask robbed Foligno on the other end.

"But I liked the way we battled back," Jones said.

And that's where the confidence comes from, why the Blue Jackets believe there will be Game 7 here Wednesday, why Tortorella's prediction this year holds more water than his exact same prediction last year.

Ryan Dzingel made it 3-2 at 12:07, 51 seconds after Pastrnak's goal. Dean Kukan scored his first NHL goal 1:51 later to tie it 3-3, a one-timer over Rask's left shoulder off a pass from Artemi Panarin.

"We had all the momentum," Foligno said. "We absolutely had all the momentum. That's how it works. You've got to find a way to at least come out of that period [tied]."

That didn't happen. Pastrnak scored with 1:28 remaining to give Boston a 4-3 lead.

The Blue Jackets pushed with goalie Sergei Bobrovsky pulled for an extra skater, and Matt Duchene knocked a bouncing puck off the ice into the right post with 43 seconds remaining.

"I mean, I was in shock," Duchene said. "I thought we tied it there. Bouncing puck and almost."

Cam Atkinson had a chance in front of the net but couldn't elevate his shot over Rask's pad with 15 seconds remaining. The puck stayed on the goal line and video review confirmed it never crossed.

Charlie McAvoy bravely dove in front of Panarin's one-timer with two seconds left, painfully blocking it to preserve the 4-3 win.

"If anything I'd just say it's our mentality, just the way we pressed, that's got to be the way we play the whole game," Foligno said. "The tenacity with which we played with, if we play like that then we're a hard team to play against no matter what time it is on the clock or what period. It has to be all game long."

Can they do it?

"We will," Tortorella said.

Why so confident?

"Because we will," he repeated.

We'll see.

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