A team is most vulnerable immediately after they score a goal. The same can be said if a team is on a winning streak. They are susceptible to suffer a loss after an emotional winning streak due to exhaustion, injuries, or fatigue. This is what is happening in Boston right now. The Bruins are on a four game losing streak after winning six straight.
Tonight, the Bruins were in action against the Columbus Blue Jackets. This is an organization that slowly fading with ticket sales and fan attendance. Columbus has just two wins in their last nine games. Their stand out player is Rick Nash, who leads the team in points (60), goals (29), and assists (31). He has been a bright spot for the team this season and they will need him as they try to chase a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Michael Ryder was the healthy scratch for the Bruins tonight, a surprising decision since Ryder has played over 100 consecutive games for Boston. Claude Julien says the reason for this is because he is "a streaky player who scores goals." No disrespect coach, but the entire team is on a streak right now, not just one player. Steve Kampfer returned to the line up tonight after missing several games with a mild concussion.
For a team that was in desperate need for a win, the Bruins did not come out looking to play. Within the first minute of the first period, they got called for a too many men penalty. As the period progressed, their heads started to get back into the game. Nathan Horton had a great opportunity for a goal but he could not find the puck under his skates. However, it was Columbus that answered first when Grant Clitsome put the Blue Jackets on top 1-0 and that was how the period would end. What stood out about this period was that when the puck was in the offensive zone, the defense was stepping up to help with the scoring chances.
The second period was an improvement for the Bruins. David Krejci scored for Boston to pull the teams even at one. It was Krejci's 11th of the season and it was assisted by Johnny Boychuk and Zdeno Chara. In this period, Matt Calvert (CBJ) went down very easily to draw two penalties against Shawn Thornton and Dennis Seidenberg of the Bruins. Boston overcame the controversial calls and did not allow a goal on either power play. Even though Columbus out shot Boston 23 to 17 through two periods, the teams were tied at one after 40 minutes.
As the third period got under way, the energy from the Bruins was very visible. The fourth line for Boston (Gregory Campbell, Shawn Thornton, Daniel Paille) had the Blue Jackets on their toes with some fast breaks and solid scoring opportunities. That energy quickly faded when Columbus put together some shots of their own. Scottie Upshall scored his 20th of the season to give the Blue Jackets a 2-1 lead. That was Upshall's third goal against Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask for his career.
The Bruins had to go on the penalty kill but that did not stop Rich Peverley. He scored a short handed goal for Boston after a turn over just outside the neutral zone to tie the game again. The Bruins now have eight short handed goals for the season. At the end of regulation, the score was tied at two. Even though the Bruins have the four game losing streak two of those losses came in overtime, so this scenario was familiar to them. After a scoreless overtime, the game went to a shootout.
Here was the shootout line up for both teams:
Seguin had the only goal in the shootout and since Columbus elected to shoot first and went 0 for 3, Boston did not need to send out a third shooter. Bruins win 3-2 in a shootout.
Gold Star: Tuukka Rask (34 saves on 36 shots, 2 goals allowed, .944 save percentage)
Black Star: Chris Kelly...he only has two points since being aquired by Boston. If he was not so effective on the penalty kill, he might have been the one sitting tonight instead of Michael Ryder.
With the win the Bruins have 87 points and extend the lead in the Northeast Divsion by four points over Montreal.