The Boston Bruins’ season-high winning streak came dangerously close to ending against the team with the worst record in the NHL.
The Bruins needed a stellar game from goalie Tuukka Rask to hold off the Columbus Blue Jackets for a 2-1 shootout victory on Thursday night that extended Boston’s winning streak to seven.
Rask made 30 saves, including four in overtime, and then came through in the shootout when he stoned Antoine Vermette on Columbus’ final attempt.
The Bruins won despite getting outshot 31-27 by the Blue Jackets (3-13-2) and scoring just one goal – Adam McQuaid’s wrist shot through traffic to tie it in the second period.
“We looked a little tired. You could see it in our players’ faces and the way they were coming back to the bench,” Boston coach Claude Julien said. “The one thing that I liked was that no matter what, we still found a way to win.”
Rich Peverley and David Krejci scored to put Boston ahead 2-1 in the shootout, leaving Columbus’ last chance on the stick of Vermette. Rask stretched out his left pad to block Vermette’s backhand, spoiling a great game by his Columbus counterpart.
Curtis Sanford, making his first NHL start in nearly three years, finished with 26 saves. He stopped Tyler Seguin’s one-timer from the slot late in regulation, and then denied Brad Marchand on a breakaway early in overtime to keep the Blue Jackets in it.
“It was a whale of a hockey game. We wanted to play a complete game, and I thought we did it,” Columbus coach Scott Arniel said. “I’ve got to commend our guys. Against the Stanley Cup champions we went toe-to-toe. I would have liked to see us get rewarded and gotten the two points.”
Columbus had to settle for one and remained winless on the road (0-7-1).
The Blue Jackets had several scoring chances thwarted by Rask late in regulation and overtime. Columbus was on a power play for the last 52 seconds of overtime but couldn’t get the puck past Rask.
“We didn’t play our best hockey. Everybody saw that, but the result is the only thing that matters in this game and we were able to squeeze the win,” Rask said.
The Bruins scored 10 goals in their previous two games, but were shut down Thursday. Rask stopped Jeff Carter twice in front early in overtime, and Sanford answered with a couple big saves.
“The guys were unbelievable, blocking shots, boxing out, letting me see point shots,” said Sanford, whose previous NHL start was for Vancouver in January 2009. “We really limited their big-time scoring opportunities and were hard on their top players.”
Derek MacKenzie scored 2:49 into the second period, tipping in a wrist shot from the blue line by Nikita Nikitin. The goal came with 1 second left on a power play, a woeful unit for Columbus this season. It was the 10th power-play goal in 78 chances for the Blue Jackets.
Boston tied it two minutes later when McQuaid took a wrist shot from the point that got past Sanford. Peverley was originally credited with the goal, but it was changed to McQuaid a few minutes later.
“It looked like it hit something. It didn’t matter one way or another,” McQuaid said. “It was in the back of the net. It feels good.”
Boston came out flat in the first period, failing to get the puck past Columbus’ pesky forecheckers early and finished with just six shots in the period.
“They had motivation, and I thought they played really well,” Julien said. “I think it’s just a matter of them getting a little bit of luck here and there. They’ve had some unlucky bounces go their way, but they’re not a bad team.”
NOTES: Boston D Johnny Boychuk was out of the lineup because of flu symptoms. … Daniel Paille returned for Boston after missing three games with a broken nose, and wore a protective mask. … The Bruins have allowed a power-play goal in four straight games. It is Boston’s longest stretch since five in a row in October 2009. … Jared Boll missed the first 14 games of the season for Columbus, but has racked up 22 penalty minutes in four games since returning.