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Khokhlachev ends shootout, Bruins top Blue Jackets

by Craig Merz

COLUMBUS -- The Boston Bruins had to dig deep to pull out a 4-3 shootout victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Friday.

Down 2-0 in the third period and having no success against 2013 Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky, the Bruins took a 3-2 lead before the Blue Jackets got the tying score from Jack Johnson with 7:13 left in regulation.

The shootout was scoreless until the seventh round, when Alex Khokhlachev, promoted Thursday from the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League because of injuries, beat Bobrovsky.

"A couple of fakes and I went five-hole," Khokhlachev said.

Khokhlachev was in the lineup because David Krejci was out with an undisclosed injury. Khokhlachev played his second NHL game following his debut last season.

"I’m always happy when I get called up," the 21-year-old said. "They don’t tell me when I’m going to play, just to get ready."

Boston (13-8-0) has won three straight. Columbus (6-11-2) has lost two in a row after winning two straight.

The Bruins took the lead with 8:28 left in regulation after a fluky goal by Dennis Seidenberg, a redirect from Matt Fraser, and a turnaround by Daniel Paille. Former Ohio State defenseman Matt Bartkowski assisted on the first two Bruins goals.

Johnson scored his first of the season with a slap shot from the left circle. It was the second assist of the game for Ryan Johansen, who scored the Blue Jackets' first goal. Nick Foligno had the second goal for Columbus in the first period against Bruins backup goaltender Niklas Svedberg (25 saves).

"It was a good comeback win," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "Knowing you’re down two goals in the third and getting that short-lived 3-2 lead, that’s a good sign for this hockey team."

The Blue Jackets took solace in that they rallied to get the tying goal after often failing to do so during a recent nine-game losing streak.

"It was a great response by us," Columbus defenseman Jordan Leopold said. "It’s adversity. It’s composure. It’s a belief in yourself."

The first 10 minutes of the game were a tale of pucks that got behind the goaltenders after their initial save. The Bruins came within inches of taking 1-0 lead after five minutes when Boston forward Patrice Bergeron shot from between the circles. The puck trickled through Bobrovsky's pads and was on the goal line when Columbus defenseman Dalton Prout reached with a backhand to swat it away.

Svedberg wasn't as fortunate on the breakaway created five minutes later when Johansen blocked a shot at his blue line and skated down the left side. He took a wrist shot that Svedberg got a glove on, but the puck continued past him to give Johansen his seventh goal of the season.

Foligno made it 2-0 with 9:30 left in the period, with Svedberg again instrumental. He tried clearing the puck to the corner, but Columbus forward Boone Jenner took it away and fed Johansen in the left circle. Johansen then got the puck to Leopold at the point, and his shot went off Foligno past Svedberg.

Foligno has 10 goals in 18 games after scoring a career-high 18 in 70 games last season.

"I’m sure one or two of those first goals he’d like to have back, but the bottom line is he got better," Julien said of Svedberg. "For him not to give up a goal on seven (shootout) chances, he did an outstanding job. He gave us a chance to win."

Boston ended a power play early in the third period when a stunning gaffe by Bobrovsky brought the Bruins within 2-1.

Seidenberg took two strides across the red line and fired an innocent looking shot from about 80 feet that dipped to the ice then went through Bobrovsky's pads at 1:28.

"Bounces like that happen," Columbus defenseman Kevin Connauton said. "You can’t blame him for one goal. Everybody makes mistakes."

Fraser parked in the high slot to tip Bartkowski's shot from the left point at 9:33. The Bruins took the lead at 11:32 when Paille got a loose puck and beat Bobrovsky stick side.

Bobrovsky made 38 saves in his third game since returning from a broken finger.

"The third period must have been a great game to watch for all our fans," Svedberg said.

Columbus coach Todd Richards wasn’t as happy with the Blue Jackets falling to 2-10-1 in their past 13 games.

"We took a 2-0 lead in the third period and came away with one point," he said. “It feels like a loss."

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