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Saturday, January 23, 2016

They Can't All Be Masterpieces but Bruins Will Take Two Points However They Can Get Them



When you play the worst team in any sport, nothing but a win will ever be tolerated. Predictably Boston (25-17-5) didn't make it easy on themselves as they blew a 2-0 lead against Columbus (17-27-5) tonight at TD Garden but things ended well enough as the Bruins survived 3-2 in a shootout. Backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson improved to 9-3-1 this season as he made 31 saves while Ryan Spooner and Torey Krug (game-winner) provided the shootout goals for the B's.

It's tough to quantify how much of a mess the Blue Jackets have been this miserable season; in fact, head coach John Tortorella wasn't even here after he broke two ribs in practice the other day. Haha it's been that kind of year for Columbus who also traded away their best player (Ryan Johansen) to Nashville a few weeks ago for defenseman Seth Jones. Former Bruin Gregory Campbell got a nice deal with the Blue Jackets so it's a shame to see him wasting away on a club that is going nowhere fast. This was his first game back in the Garden as a visitor so he was treated to a nice video montage on the Jumbotron and deserved standing ovation for someone who did plenty of good deeds in the community as well.

After a scoreless first period, Boston took a 1-0 lead just 32 seconds into the second when Brad Marchand tapped in a pretty passing sequence from Ryan Spooner and Patrice Bergeron. That was Marchand's team-leading 19th goal of the season and the team-leading 25th assists of the season for both Spooner and Bergeron. Marchand has tied his career best streak with goals in four straight games and he extended his point streak to five games (4 goals, 1 assist).

David Pastrnak doubled Boston's lead 3:02 after that when he crashed the net (like ran into it with his stomach) and put in a rebound. His fifth goal of the season was assisted by David Krejci (23rd assist) and Loui Eriksson (24th assist). You would think that Columbus would basically give up when they were down a pair of goals on the road but they didn't as Dalton Prout scored his first goal in 107 games (!) and my man Kerby Rychel tipped in a shot from Justin Falk in the span of 3:10 later in the frame. Gustavsson should have stopped Prout's easy shot that somehow squeezed through from no angle.

Not much happened in the third period and both teams had to kill off penalties in overtime (4-on-3) before it went to the goofy shootout. Being terrible in shootouts has been a hallmark of the Bruins since it was instituted by the NHL and that is one of the numerous reasons that they missed the playoffs last year. It's hard to feel great about what transpired tonight but at least they came away with two points which frankly is all that matters with 35 games left in the regular season.

There are only two games left for the B's before the All-Star break begins next week: they are in Philadelphia (20-17-8) on Monday (7, NESN) and here vs. Anaheim (21-18-7) the next night. Boston has already lost twice to the Flyers this season (5-4 in OT here on Oct. 21 and 3-2 in Philly on Jan. 13) and the Ducks are playing much better (6-3-1 in last 10 games) after their awful start this season but this isn't a killer stretch. The Bruins can finally get to .500 at home this season (something they have yet to do) with a win on Tuesday (11-12-2).



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