November 15, 2013

Johnson's strong play propels B's to OT win over Jackets

By Jesse Connolly

Chad Johnson stopped all 14 shots he faced in the third period and overtime. (Photo: Sharon Bradley/New England Hockey Journal)

Final: Boston 3, Columbus 2 (OT)

Recap: After a slow start in which the Black and Gold had just two shots in the first half of the opening period, Boston fittingly fell behind on a goal from Blake Comeau.  Boston evened things up with 1:50 to go in the frame, as a not-so-bistering Zdeno Chara shot ricocheted off the foot of Loui Eriksson -- who was screening in front -- and past Sergei Bobrovsky.

In the second, Columbus began to take control after a Shawn Thornton snipe put the B's ahead by a score of 2-1. The Blue Jackets tied the game when Chad Johnson kicked out a juicy rebound and Nick Foligno backhanded it home.

After a scoreless third, the game went to overtime. Milan Lucic ended it 4:11 into the extra session with a breakaway goal. 

Records: Boston 12-5-1, 25 points; Columbus 6-10-2, 14 points

Key Play of the Game: With under a minute to go in overtime, Cam Atkinson (Greenwich, Mass.) had his shot blocked by Lucic. The puck sprung out into the neutral zone and past the Blue Jackets' blue line, and No. 17 had no chance of being caught by a defender. Bobrovsky appeared to contemplate coming out to steer the puck away before retreating to his crease. Lucic fired a low wrister through the five-hole to net the game-winner.

Connolly's Commendations: After going 16 games without a point, Greg Campbell now has assists in back-to-back contests. He and his linemates (Thornton, Dan Paille) were great tonight.

The Jackets' second goal was one he'd like to have back, but this was a superb showing by Johnson. The B's backup improved to 2-1, turning in his best performance as a Bruin with 32 saves on 34 shots. He made a dynamite toe save on Derek MacKenzie in the third and another scintillating stop on Foligno in the extra session that left the Columbus forward looking up at the sky.

Johnny Boychuk crushed everything that moved tonight. No. 55 had a season-high eight hits (yowza!), including a big one on Dubinsky, which he was clearly trying to land all night after the former Ranger left David Krejci looking like he was in rough shape after a first-period hit. 

Connolly's Critiques: Krejci won just 3-of-13 faceoffs, but he probably wasn't feeling so hot over the final two periods, so don't consider this a genuine critique. It's more of a space-filler, really. Sometimes those are a necessity. I'll stop now.

Notes: Krejci got hurt in the first period but you knew that already. The Czech pivot missed the remainder of the frame but returned for the second period. ... Adam McQuaid remained out of action with a groin injury. ... Torey Krug extended his point streak to five games. 

Final Thoughts: Given that Columbus came in with a 1-5-1 record in their last seven contests, one would've preffered to see the Bruins tak care of their opponent more handedly. They did for stretches, but the Blue Jackets were the better team for most of the night. Luckily, Johnson was extremely sharp in the second half of the contest, and Lucic capitalized on his golden opportunity in the final minute of overtime to grab the extra point for the Bruins.

Next: The B's will be in Ottawa Friday night to take on the Sens.

Twitter: @JesseNEHJ