Jake DeBrusk continued his hot streak Monday night at Nationwide Arena as the Boston Bruins beat the Columbus Blue Jackets, 3-2, in overtime thanks to a game-winner from No. 74 in black and gold himself– which also happened to be his second goal of the game.
DeBrusk has six goals in his last five games as the Bruins are now 7-1-0 in their last eight games, while Linus Ullmark (22-9-2, 2.63 goals-against average, .911 save percentage in 35 games played) made 20 saves on 22 shots against in the win for Boston.
Columbus goaltender, Elvis Merzlikins (22-18-6, 3.40 goals-against average, .903 save percentage in 48 games played), stopped 34 out of 37 shots faced in the overtime loss.
The B’s improved to 44-20-5 (93 points) overall and moved into 3rd place in the Atlantic Division as the Bruins hold the regulation wins tiebreaker with the Tampa Bay Lightning (Boston has 35 regulation wins to Tampa’s 33).
The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, fell to 32-32-6 (70 points) on the season and remain in 6th place in the Metropolitan Division.
Boston swept Columbus in their regular season series 3-0-0 for the first time since the 2013-14 season.
Jakub Zboril (right ACL) was the only Bruin out due to injury on Monday, while head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made one change to his lineup– scratching Derek Forbort and replacing him with Josh Brown (while switching Mike Reilly back to his regular role as a left shot defender to Brown’s right shot on the third pairing, O.K. so technically two changes).
Forbort joined Jack Studnicka, Marc McLaughlin, Connor Clifton and Anton Blidh on Boston’s list of healthy scratches in Columbus.
Blue Jackets head coach, Brad Larsen, was back from the league’s COVID-19 protocol and returned to his regular job behind the bench after assistant coach, Pascal Vincent, filled in for Larsen.
Emil Bemström (5) sped through the neutral zone on a breakout, got around Brandon Carlo and shot the puck past Ullmark high on the short side– giving Columbus the first lead of the night, 1-0, at 4:31 of the first period.
Jakub Voracek (45) had the only assist on Bemström’s goal.
A minute later, Carson Meyer tripped up Charlie McAvoy for his first career minor penalty in his first career National Hockey League game at 5:32.
Boston did not convert on the ensuing power play, however, and cut their time on the advantage short as a result of McAvoy’s ensuing holding infraction at 6:13.
After 1:19 of 4-on-4 action, the Blue Jackets had an abbreviated power play go by the wayside.
Late in the period, Voracek and Trent Frederic received roughing minors at 14:45 and yielded some more 4-on-4 action that only lasted for a couple of seconds on the ensuing faceoff as Bruins forward, Brad Marchand, interfered with Justin Danforth at 14:47.
Columbus had a rare 4-on-3 power play as a result for 1:58.
The Blue Jackets did not score on the skater advantage with all that extra open ice.
Shortly after he was freed from the penalty box, Marchand made a big hit along the wall as he checked Andrew Peeke hard into the boards– leading with his shoulder first, despite a violent end result in which Peeke was left visibly dazed after laying face down on the ice.
Meanwhile, instead of stopping the play (as Columbus did not have possession, nor did the on-ice officials determine that there was the potential for a severe enough or significant injury to have just occurred), McAvoy retrieved a loose puck and setup DeBrusk on a breakaway before DeBrusk (20) shot the puck off of Merzlikins’ blocker and into the twine– tying the game, 1-1, in the process.
McAvoy (40) had the only assist on DeBrusk’s goal at 18:32 of the first period while the ensuing celebration was subdued while the Blue Jackets’ athletic trainer tended to Peeke at the other end of the rink.
DeBrusk, meanwhile, reached the 20-goal plateau for the second time in his career (five seasons) and first time since he had 27 goals in 68 games in 2018-19.
The 25-year-old forward also extended his goal scoring streak to five games as a result and would finish the night with six goals in the last five games (another first for DeBrusk since Feb. 2019– a five-game goal scoring streak, that is).
Voracek had a few choice words for the on-ice officials after allowing play to continue while Peeke laid face down on the ice and ended up receiving a misconduct as a result at 18:32.
Less than a minute later, Nick Foligno tripped Oliver Bjorkstrand and cut a rut to the sin bin at 19:24 as a result.
Columbus didn’t convert on the ensuing power play, however.
As the first period came to a close, Bjorkstrand and Patrice Bergeron exchanged pleasantries– rendering roughing infractions for each of them at 20:00 of the opening frame.
Entering the first intermission, the Bruins and Blue Jackets were tied, 1-1, despite Boston leading in shots on goal, 10-9.
The B’s also held the advantage in blocked shots (3-2), takeaways (2-1) and faceoff win percentage (70-30), while Columbus led in giveaways (2-1) and hits (9-8).
The Blue Jackets went 0/3 on the power play, while Boston was 0/1 on the skater advantage heading into the middle frame.
Vladislav Gavrikov caught Taylor Hall with a high stick and drew blood at 2:25 of the second period– resulting in a four-minute double minor infraction as a result.
Boston’s extended power play was cut short, however, as Hampus Lindholm was penalized for interference at 4:00 of the second period.
After 2:00 of 4-on-4 action, the Bruins would go back on the power play for 25 seconds, but couldn’t convert on the abbreviated skater advantage.
Shortly thereafter, Frederic kept the puck in the attacking zone as the Blue Jackets failed to clear it and Boston worked the rubber biscuit around the horn before Charlie Coyle spun away from his opponent and sent a pass to Craig Smith (16) for a wrist shot goal from the high slot under Merzlikins’ blocker.
Coyle (25) and McAvoy (41) tallied the assists on Smith’s goal as the Bruins took a, 2-1, lead at 7:52 of the second period.
After a stoppage midway through the middle frame, Peeke tried getting a few extra jabs at Marchand while DeBrusk stepped in as a scrum encircled the two initial skaters exchanging pleasantries.
While DeBrusk should have gone to the box with Peeke for roughing, the on-ice officials instead assessed minors to Peeke and Marchand at 13:53– yielding more 4-on-4 action for what would be a pair of minutes until Sean Kuraly hooked David Pastrnak at 14:22.
Boston’s abbreviated 4-on-3 power play went by without issue for Columbus’ penalty kill, however.
Jake Christiansen then checked Frederic along the boards right around where Marchand and Peeke collided in the first period and Frederic skated off the ice and headed down the tunnel.
The Bruins later tweeted during the final frame of regulation that Frederic would not return to the night’s action with an upper body injury.
Boston struggled to get out of their own zone in the dying minute of the second period as Columbus miraculously kept the puck from exiting the attacking zone at the blue line with a quick reach into the sky to bat the puck back down to the ice.
After sending it around the zone, Voracek fed Zach Werenski through the slot as Werenski (11) pinched in from the point and one-timed the puck past Ullmark’s glove side– tying the game, 2-2, in the process.
Voracek (46) and Patrik Laine (27) had the assists while Cassidy used his coach’s challenge to review if the Blue Jackets had technically entered the zone offside as a result of their effort to keep the puck in the offensive zone seconds prior.
The ensuing video review was inconclusive, which mean that the call on the ice would stand.
Columbus had tied the game, 2-2, at 19:44 of the second period and the B’s were assessed a bench minor for delay of game as Smith skated over to the box to serve the infraction.
Through 40 minutes of play, the score was tied, 2-2, despite Boston leading in shots on goal, 21-14, including an, 11-5, advantage in the second period alone.
The Bruins also led in blocked shots (7-6), takeaways (4-2) and faceoff win% (63-37), while the Blue Jackets led in hits (18-10).
Both teams had two giveaways each and were 0/4 on the power play heading into the final frame of regulation.
Peeke shoved Marchand to the ice with an open palm while the Boston forward entered the attacking zone and presented the Bruins with an early power play at 3:52 of the third period.
Boston’s time on the skater advantage was cut short again, however, as the night’s trend continued with Bergeron hooking Gustav Nyquist to prevent a shorthanded scoring opportunity at 4:39 of the third period.
As a result, the two teams were back to 4-on-4 play, while Pastrnak shortly made an exit from the game with what might have been a core injury after he got tangled up with Gavrikov and fell awkwardly about midway through the final frame of regulation.
After 60 minutes, the Bruins and Blue Jackets remained tied, 2-2, on the scoreboard, despite Boston holding a, 34-22, advantage in shots on goal– including a, 13-8, advantage in the third period alone.
Columbus attained the advantage in takeaways (7-4) and hits (24-15), while the B’s led in blocked shots (12-7), giveaways (3-2) and faceoff win% (64-37).
As no penalties were called in overtime, both teams finished the night 0/5 on the power play on Monday.
Cassidy started Bergeron, Marchand and McAvoy in overtime, while Larsen countered with Voracek, Laine and Werenski.
It wasn’t long before the two teams made one change and Lindholm made a timely interception before giving the puck to DeBrusk (21) for a pump fake catch and release game-winning overtime goal on the blocker side at 1:03 of the extra frame.
Lindholm (21) had the only assist on DeBrusk’s second goal of the game as a result and the Bruins won, 3-2.
Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 37-22– including a, 3-0, advantage in overtime alone.
The Bruins left Nationwide Arena leading in blocked shots (12-7) and faceoff win% (64-36), while the Blue Jackets exited their own building with the advantage in giveaways (4-3) and hits (24-15).
With the win, the B’s improved to 17-3-1 in their last 21 games– including a 7-1-0 record in their last eight games.
Boston is now 7-3 in overtime (9-5 past regulation overall) this season, while Columbus fell to 6-4 in the extra frame (10-6 past regulation overall).
The Bruins also improved to 12-13-3 (5-6-2 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 14-5-2 (8-2-1 on the road) when tied after the first period and 12-4-0 (5-3-0 on the road) when tied after two periods this season.
The Blue Jackets fell to 17-10-2 (11-6-2 at home) when scoring first, 17-11-3 (10-6-3 at home) when tied after one and 6-6-2 (4-2-2 at home) when tied after two periods in 2021-22.
Boston continues their four-game road trip (1-0-0) Tuesday night in Detroit before heading to Tampa on Friday and Washington D.C. on Sunday.
The Bruins return to TD Garden for a three-game homestand starting April 12th.
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