COLUMBUS, Ohio — As the third period wore on and the Bruins spent most of their time in the defensive zone, it looked like this one could end in disappointment. They had gotten just one shot on Joonas Korpisalo — at 4:06 of the period from David Pastrnak — and did not really appear likely to get a second.
They did not get the big play they needed but held on to send the game into overtime.
There? It went quickly. Just 33 seconds into the extra session, Loui Eriksson tapped in the winner off a dish from Torey Krug and the Bruins wrapped up a 2-1 win over the Blue Jackets Tuesday night.
“We needed a big play there in overtime to secure that second point,” coach Claude Julien said. “We got it.”
But it wasn’t exactly a highlight reel for the Bruins against a team that is in the basement of the Metropolitan Division, despite coming into the matchup on a 6-1-1 run.
“It was obviously nice to get the result we wanted,” Krug said. “It wasn’t pretty by any means whatsoever, but at the end of the day, that doesn’t matter. We’ll move on to the next game and look at those 2 points.”
The Bruins were bolstered by the return of Patrice Bergeron, who had missed the last two games, and Adam McQuaid, who had missed the last six weeks. Both contributed, with Julien praising McQuaid as “stable” and Bergeron providing all the regulation offense the Bruins would get.
Columbus scored first, although it didn’t get its first shot on net until 6:31 into the period.
After a drop pass from Scott Hartnell to Alexander Wennberg, the center split the Bruins defense of Zdeno Chara and Zach Trotman. On the breakaway, Chara was called for a hook, resulting in a penalty shot, which Wennberg buried at 9:54 for his sixth goal of the season.
“It just went under my glove,” Tuukka Rask said. “It’s one of those, you don’t want to slide over there because he was that far out and if he cuts back in you’re on your back or stomach. Sometimes you get it, sometimes you don’t.”
But Bergeron tied the game with his 22d goal of the season, coming at 14:28 of the period. As Columbus attempted to clear the puck from its defensive zone, Bergeron intercepted it, gloved it, and wristed it in from the left circle past Korpisalo.
The Bruins were even at the end of regulation due to the play of Rask (28 saves), who remained in the game despite being shaken up at the end of the first period.
With 11.3 seconds remaining, David Savard caused Matt Beleskey to crash into Rask, causing Rask’s head to snap back. He went down on the ice and was attended to by Bruins trainer Don DelNegro. He eventually got up, skated briefly, and returned to his crease. Rask said, “Just knocked my head. I was shaken up a little bit. But that’s it.”
“It was crucial, for sure,” Julien said of Rask’s play. “Those two shorthanded breakaways we gave up of our own doing. We need to be better in those areas, but he bailed us out. He was good for us with lots of traffic. This is a team that really crashes the net a lot and I thought he handled those pucks well, rebounds, loose pucks and all that stuff. Did a pretty good job of that.”
The win for Rask came after the goaltender was pulled in two of his last three starts, against Los Angeles and Detroit, though neither of those were entirely his fault.
And while this was not exactly the game the Bruins were looking for, the end result was really the most important thing.
“We didn’t play as good as we would have liked, I guess, but we got the 2 points and that’s all that matters,” Rask said.
“In the third period you’d like to go out there and kind of take the game over, and we didn’t. But doesn’t matter. We won. That’s 2 points.”