COLUMBUS, Ohio — Tuukka Rask stopped 39 shots and the Boston Bruins got some much-needed production from their top-liners in a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night that evened their Eastern Conference semifinal series at two games apiece.
Patrice Bergeron had two goals, David Pastrnak had a goal and an assist and Sean Kuraly also tallied for the Bruins, who had lost the last two games in the best of-seven series but knotted the set again as it moves back to Boston for Game 5 on Saturday.
Artemi Panarin scored for Columbus on a controversial play, and Sergei Bobrovsky, who has been spectacular in the post-season so far, had 41 saves but was beaten on long shots by Pastrnak and Bergeron in the first period.
Brad Marchand picked up an assist on Bergeron’s goal but also committed three penalties, one leading to an unsuccessful Blue Jackets penalty shot in the first period. Marchand and Bergeron had been kept off the score sheet in the first three games.
Early in the first, Pastrnak was flattened by a huge hit from Columbus defenceman Adam Clendening. Around 25 seconds later, Pastrnak rifled a shot past Bobrovsky from the left circle to get the Bruins on the board.
Boston made it 2-0 on Bergeron’s snap shot from the slot at 7:18 of the first.
Columbus then benefited from a blown call. After the puck appeared to go into the netting and back onto the ice behind Boston’s goal, Panarin ended up with it and poked it in close range. The Bruins protested, but the play was not subject to review because the scoring player, Panarin, wasn’t the first to possess the puck off the net.
After a scoreless second, Kuraly put back a rebound off the end board 8:40 into the final period. Bergeron picked up his second goal off a rebound with 2 1/2 minutes left in the game.
NOTES: Boston F David Backes was back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch since Game 5 of the first round against Toronto. Karson Kuhlman went to the bench. … Columbus F Riley Nash was out with an injury, replaced by rookie Alexandre Texier. Nash had taken some hard hits in the first two games. … The crowd of 19,431 was a Nationwide Arena record.
The series moves to Boston for Game 5.
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Mitch Stacy, The Associated Press