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Hartnell scores two in return, Blue Jackets rout Bruins

by Craig Merz

COLUMBUS -- Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Scott Hartnell returned after missing five games because of a broken finger and had two goals in a 6-2 victory against the Boston Bruins at Nationwide Arena on Saturday.

Hartnell scored each of his goals in front of the net. He scored on a rebound in the first period and had a redirection from the slot as part of a four-goal second period by the Blue Jackets.

The Blue Jackets (15-16-3) ended a two-game losing streak and beat the Bruins for the first time since Jan. 21, 2010, a span of eight games.

Boston had won two straight but had few flashes of that form.

"We showed those surges but not enough of them," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We had a lot of mistakes tonight, defense mistakes, not boxing out, screening our goaltender."

Boston (18-15-3) got goals from forwards Patrice Bergeron and Craig Cunningham but trailed 5-2 entering the third period against Columbus backup goaltender Curtis McElhinney, who made his first start since Nov. 29 because Sergei Bobrovsky was out because of a stomach virus.

McElhinney made 26 saves.

"It was certainly unexpected, but it’s one of those opportunities that when it presents itself, you want to take advantage of it," he said. "Any time you get the goal support it helps take the pressure off the goalie. That was nice to see."

Boston backup goalie Niklas Svedberg made 12 saves but was pulled after Columbus took a 3-1 lead. Tuukka Rask made 12 saves in relief.

Svedberg left a rebound on Hartnell’s first goal in the first period and had trouble with the third goal, a shot from the blue line by defenseman Kevin Connauton 6:32 into the second period.

"I lost sight of it just before he shot it," Svedberg said. "You’ve got to work hard to find the puck as a goalie. I couldn’t find it. It’s on me. It’s unfortunate. It was an important goal."

Hartnell was buzzing around the Boston goal the entire game.

"I’m going to spend most of the time in front of the net," Hartnell said. "That’s what I did on those two goals."

Connauton, claimed off waivers Nov. 18 from the Dallas Stars, assisted on each of Hartnell’s goals. Connauton has four goals and three assists in 14 games with the Blue Jackets after having two assists in eight games with the Stars.

"There’s more confidence shooting the puck and making plays," he said. "It’s a matter of an opportunity where I’m playing a lot and building confidence and as a result, I’m having success."

Nick Foligno, Matt Calvert and Jeremy Morin scored for Columbus, and Brandon Dubinsky and Jack Johnson each had two assists.

Foligno converted a goalmouth pass from Johnson during a power play with 10:34 left in the second to give the Blue Jackets a 4-1 lead. Foligno’s 17 goals are one shy of his career high set last season in 70 games.

Cunningham made it 4-2 with 3:32 remaining in the second period after a shot from the right blue line by center Gregory Campbell. The puck hit Cunningham in front of the net for his second goal.

Calvert capped the second period when he stole the puck from Bruins forward Milan Lucic along the right half wall and scored unassisted from the circle for his fourth goal.

Morin in the third scored his first goal in five games for the Blue Jackets since being traded by the Chicago Blackhawks.

"It’s for sure disappointing," Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara said. "It’s hard to find words after this. We were talking about putting some wins together and climbing the standings and here we go again. We fell behind. It wasn’t the game we wanted.

"We were not managing the puck well. We were losing the races to the puck and eventually the battles."

Columbus was able to maintain its lead even though forwards Cam Atkinson and Jack Skille left the game each with an upper-body injury. Neither is expected to play Wednesday against the Minnesota Wild at Nationwide Arena.

"We were down to 10 forwards for at least half the game," Columbus coach Todd Richards said. "It says a lot about our group coming together and getting a win."

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