Blue Jackets push winning streak to 13 with win over Boston
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Even thoroughly outplaying the Blue Jackets isn’t good enough to get a victory in Columbus right now.
Not with the way Sergei Bobrovsky and the NHL’s most surprising Stanley Cup contender are clicking.
Bobrovsky had 37 saves, Nick Foligno scored a power-play goal midway through the third period and the league-leading Blue Jackets beat the Boston Bruins 4-3 to extend their winning streak to 13 games.
Scott Hartnell, Seth Jones and Matt Calvert scored to put the burgeoning Blue Jackets up 3-0 in the first period, but the more aggressive Bruins dominated the action from there. Columbus stayed in the game thanks to the latest stellar performance by Bobrovsky, who got his first career victory in eight games against Boston. Bobrovsky has now beaten every NHL team.
Columbus hasn’t lost since Nov. 26 on this franchise-best winning streak. It leads the brutal Metropolitan Division a season after finishing in last place.
Foligno scored the winner with a wraparound 10:46 into the third period off a pass from Alexander Wennberg. The Blue Jackets then killed a power play with less than four minutes left and held off a rush by the Bruins after they pulled their goalie with about 1 1/2 minutes remaining.
“When we focus on our game and do the things necessary to win, we’re a hard team to play against, and it makes it fun,” Foligno said.
David Backes, Austin Czarnik and David Krejci scored for the Bruins, and Tuukka Rask had 18 saves.
“They definitely took it to us there in the first 10 minutes, and it looked like it was going to be a long night,” Rask said. “You got to be proud of how we battled back, but it’s just too bad we didn’t get any points.”
Columbus opened the scoring 3:02 into the first when a wrist shot by Lukas Sedlak bounced off Rask’s pads. Hartnell skated in front of the net after being checked to the ice and poked it in for his ninth goal of the season.
Jones scored from the middle of the left circle at 8:47 after taking a pass from Hartnell from behind the net just after a Jackets’ power play expired. Less than a minute later, Calvert got a steal and scored after getting his own rebound off Rask’s pads.
Boston then got two goals in quick fashion. Backes charged through the slot and shot the puck over Bobrovsky’s right shoulder for his ninth goal at 11:05, and 55 seconds later, Czarnik scored in traffic off a rebound.
After Bobrovsky turned away a fierce barrage for most of the second period, Boston evened the score at 3 when Krejci got a put-back tally off a blocked shot by Ryan Spooner. Bobrovsky stopped 17 shots in the period.
Columbus coach John Tortorella was not impressed with his team’s play.
“It was a slopfest,” he said. “I lit a match to the tape already. It’s done.”
NOTES: The Blue Jackets haven’t gone without a point since the day before Thanksgiving in a 2-0 loss to Calgary. They’ve won seven in a row at home. ... The Blue Jackets are only the ninth team in the 99-year history of the NHL to have won 13 games in a row. They are 14-3-1 at home. ... Columbus is unbeaten this month and broke the franchise mark for wins in a calendar month (12). ... Boston D John-Michael Liles skated Tuesday for the first time since getting a concussion that has kept him out of the last 14 games. He hasn’t been cleared to practice and it’s not clear when he could return to the lineup. ... Boston’s Torey Krug has five assists in three games and 13 in his past 16. ... D Joe Morrow, C Noel Acciari and C Tim Schaller were scratched for Boston, and D Dalton Prout and D Scott Harrington were scratches for Columbus.
Boston: Plays at Buffalo on Thursday night.
Columbus: Plays at Winnipeg on Thursday night.