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OT goal by Lucic ends Bruins' successful homestand

by Matt Kalman

BOSTON -- As far as homestands go, the Boston Bruins were nearly perfect.

Milan Lucic tracked down a shot he blocked and scored on a breakaway with 48.6 seconds left in overtime, and the Bruins ran their point total on their season-long five-game homestand to nine out of 10 with a 3-2 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets at TD Garden on Thursday.

"You know I was able to block a shot, a lucky bounce," Lucic said. "I was able to go out on a breakaway. You know this is my first overtime goal that I've ever scored and it ends up being a big game with the last game on this homestand, which wound up being a successful one."

Lucic beat Sergei Bobrovsky (28 saves) to the five-hole after chasing down the puck all the way to the high slot of the Blue Jackets zone. Lucic blocked Cam Atkinson's slap shot from near the Boston blue line with Columbus (6-10-2) hoping it could get to the shootout.

"Even though you want to try and win in overtime, the other thing is you can give yourself a pretty good chance because of your goaltender and plus the guys we have in the shootout," Columbus coach Todd Richards said. "That's just managing it. The one thing you can't do when you're the last man in the zone is your shot cannot get blocked."

Boston goalie Chad Johnson, making his third start of the season and first on home ice, finished with 32 saves. The Bruins (12-5-1) were 4-0-1 on the homestand with wins in the last four games. Their shootout loss to the Dallas Stars in the first game was their second straight defeat and fourth loss in five games. They improved their play from start to finish, just in time to leave on a three-game road trip that starts Saturday against the Ottawa Senators.

"I think we just back to supporting one another and moving the puck better and our transition game's been better," Lucic said. "And we're coming up the ice again as a five-man unit. And I think when we got into that skid and that funk, I think that was the main thing that got away from us is we were trying to play too much as individuals instead of a team game. And we're getting back to that. I think there's still some room for improvement to where we want to be, and we've got to stay on ourselves and stay on each other to keep getting better."

The Blue Jackets took the lead when they scored seconds after their second fruitless power play of the first period expired. Columbus forward Mark Letestu won a race with Boston defenseman Dougie Hamilton for a dump-in, and Hamilton's D partner Zdeno Chara made the mistake of also going below the goal line after the puck. That left the front of the net open for Blake Comeau to one-time the puck past Johnson off a feed from Letestu for a 1-0 lead at 12:47.

Boston tied the game at 18:10 with a fortuitous bounce. Chara's wrist shot toward the net deflected off the side of Loui Eriksson's skate in the slot and eluded Bobrovsky. Eriksson was credited with the goal and the teams went to the dressing room tied 1-1.

The Bruins received a scare around the midway point of the period when David Krejci left the game with an apparent injury. Krejci lost an edge while pursuing a puck in the corner and was hit into the boards by Brandon Dubinsky. Krejci didn't return for the rest of the period but was back to start the second.

Shawn Thornton put the Bruins in front 2-1 at 10:09 of the second. After a giveaway in the neutral zone, Gregory Campbell gained the Columbus zone and dished to Thornton, whose slap shot went off Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson's skate and past Bobrovsky.

Nick Foligno tied the game a second time. He followed his shot to the Boston net and backhanded a rebound over Johnson at 16:34.

Neither team could break the tie in the third period, when the Blue Jackets outshot the Bruins, 12-7. Richards was able to take the positives out of those 20 minutes by his team, which earned two points on a two-game road trip.

"We played very good in the third," Richards said. "We had about 10, 15 minutes from five minutes to the end of the first to about the first 10 minutes of the second where we were not very good though. But that's the way that we can play. And what we have to find in our game is that 60-minute game, or 58 or 55 minutes. We had a lull where it seemed like it got chaotic and systematically we weren't executing. And then we come out in the third and we execute really well. We didn't get, obviously, the end result, but I think based on how the third period was going, we were carrying the play."

The Bruins have won five straight against the Blue Jackets. Columbus last defeated Boston on Jan. 21, 2010.

The Blue Jackets host the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

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