The Bruins are done horsing around.
In a game delayed briefly due to some replay fiasco at the Kentucky Derby on NBC, the carrier of tonight’s game, the Black and Gold moved one win from the Eastern Conference Finals with a 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night at TD Garden.
Boston leads the best-of-seven series, 3-2, with Game 6 set for Monday night in Columbus.
David Krejci, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak -- twice -- scored for Boston, each goal a testament to just how difficult it’s been to score against Columbus netminder Sergei Bobrovsky.
Thanks to any one of the 32 saves Bobrovsky made, he had the Blue Jackets in position to steal the game after falling behind 3-1 in the third.
The much-maligned Pastrnak, however, had other ideas. The game all-square at 3-apiece, Brandon Carlo stoned Columbus sniper Artemi Panarin in the attacking zone, freeing the puck for himself and finding Marchand open on the breakout.
Marchand connected with Pastrnak for the second time in the third period, delivering the game-winner wtih just 1:32 left in regulation.
The goal, Pastrnak's third of the series overall, helped the Bruins fend off a would-be collapse and leave people pointing fingers at Tuukka Rask despite another phenomenal game save for one stretch of 3 minutes, 36 seconds in the third period.
Seth Jones scored at 10:33 of the third on a puck which seemingly vanished underneath Tuukka Rask’s pad, the goal confirmed via replay after a lengthy review from the league offices in Toronto for the first Columbus tally of the evening.
Just 0:43 later, after another rush up ice for the Blue Jackets was thwarted by Marchand, he sprung Pastrnak free up the left wing in what wound up being a nearly a 4-on-1 rush for the B’s. Pastrnak uncorked a wrist shot which Bobrovsky never had a chance on, giving Boston its two-goal cushion back.
Things soon unraveled for the Bruins, however, when Blue Jackets fourth liner Ryan Dzingel once again got Columbus back within a goal at 12:07 -- less than a minute after Pastrnak’s goal, followed by Dean Kukan on a feed from Panarin at 14:00 to deliver the equalizer, wrapping up a series which made Rask look human for the first time this series.
Rask still turned aside 33 shots, his fourth straight game with at least 30 saves.
He had to rely on a post struck by the Blue Jackets in the final minute with the extra attacker on the ice to hang on, as well as a blocked shot by Charlie McAvoy off the stick of Panarin with less than 10 seconds left, but once again Rask outdueled his counterpart from Columbus when all was said and done.
Krejci’s goal, 1:39 into the second period on a feed from Jake DeBrusk, beat Bobrovsky five-hole on a rare soft goal. Krejci’s shot was equivalent to a change-up from a pitcher in baseball, the slow speed perhaps catching the Vezina Trophy finalist off-guard.
In the midst of a firestorm to begin the third period, during which time Boston outshot Columbus 10-1, Marchand’s goal was the result of a second effort -- an effort required thanks to one of many ridiculous saves by Bobrovsky on the evening.
Marchand curled out from behind the net to Bobrovsky’s left, denied by the 30-year-old Russian on his first attempt with a ridiculous glove save. But Bobrovsky failed to hang on to the puck, which Marchand proceeded to bury at 4:51 of the third.
The goal was Marchand’s first since Game 6 of the first round vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs. His three points (goal, two assists) matched his postseason best from the Toronto series, in which he had three points twice.