Tuesday's NHL playoffs: Bobrovsky stands tall, Bruins fall to Blue Jackets
Columbus, Ohio — With Columbus holding on to a two-goal lead late in the second period, Boston’s Brad Marchand snapped a shot from the top of the left circle. The puck rebounded and trickled dangerously in the blue paint before Sergei Bobrovsky stretched out and swept it away with his glove.
Another big save for Bobrovsky, who has made a bunch of them in what has been an outstanding postseason so far. He finished with 36 stops in the 2-1 win over Boston on Tuesday night that gave the Blue Jackets a 2-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Boone Jenner and Matt Duchene scored for the Blue Jackets, who won a second-round home game for first time in franchise history.
Game 4 is Thursday night.
Tuukka Rask had 32 saves for Boston. The Bruins’ only goal was a fluky one in the last minute of the second period, the only chink in an otherwise brilliant game by Bobrovsky.
The Russian stopper withstood a flurry by Boston earlier in the second period, including the acrobatic save of the kind that has become almost routine for him in these playoffs. The Bruins pulled Rask with 2:11 left but couldn’t beat Bobrovsky with the 6-on-5 advantage.
“I thought we stayed together in the third period,” Bobrovsky said. “Obviously they had a good push, we stood together, we worked for each other and we got rewarded.”
Boston defenseman Brandon Carlo predicted that the former Vezina Trophy won’t be able to keep it up.
“The secondary saves that he’s making are very impressive, but he’s going to crack at some point,” Carlo said. “I have a lot of faith that we’re going to pucks past behind him pretty soon. Credit to him today, but overall I don’t think it’s going to last.”
Columbus overcame deficits twice to win Game 2 in overtime at Boston on Saturday but never trailed in Game 3. There were some big hits but the game was less testy than the previous two meetings between the two teams in the postseason.
The Blue Jackets struck late in the first period when Jenner, skating left to right across the slot, slid the puck past Rask on the glove side before the goalie could adjust. The tally with 1:23 left was Jenner’s first of the postseason.
With Zdeno Chara in the penalty box for high-sticking Jenner in the face, the Blue Jackets swarmed for an extended time in front of the Boston net before Duchene tapped in another goal with 7:18 left in the second.
Boston made it a one-goal game with 40 seconds left in the middle period when in a knot of players in front the Columbus net, the puck trickled behind Bobrovsky and over the line. The goal initially was waved off by an official, but a video review determined that play hadn’t stopped before the puck slid in. Jake DeBrusk got credit for the goal .
That would be it for the Bruins.
Their best opportunity to tie the score came with just under 9 minutes left when David Savard went to the penalty box for tripping, but 16 seconds later Patrice Bergeron was whistled for the same infraction, creating a 4-on-4 and then a brief Columbus advantage.
“I still think we had enough good looks to win the game,” Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We hit two posts and a crossbar. (Bobrovsky) stopped a lot of other good ones. Clearly we’d love to get into the slot a little more."
All three of the games in the series have been decided by one goal.
►San Jose 4, (at) Colorado 2: Logan Couture scored three times, including the go-ahead goal with 7:10 remaining, and the Sharks beat the Avalanche to take a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference semifinal series.
Couture sent a shot over the shoulder of Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer just 65 seconds after Matt Nieto tied the score. Couture sealed it on an empty-net goal with 29.5 seconds remaining. Timo Meier also scored for the Sharks, who improved to 24-16 all-time in Game 3 of a series.
Game 4 is Thursday in Denver.