EditorsNote: adds quotes
Tuukka Rask made 39 saves as the visiting Boston Bruins advanced to the Eastern Conference final for the first time since 2013 with a 3-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 6 on Monday.
Boston took the best-of-seven, second-round playoff series four games to two.
David Krejci collected a goal and an assist, and Marcus Johansson and David Backes scored 1:41 apart midway into the third period for Boston, which will face Carolina in the next round. The Bruins won two of the three regular-season meetings against the Hurricanes.
Boston coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters of Rask: “You need your goalie to deliver, and I think that’s stating the obvious, but he did. … He was definitely our most consistent player throughout the whole series.”
Sergei Bobrovsky turned aside 26 shots for the Blue Jackets, who hit the post or crossbar on four occasions and went 0-for-4 on the power play before seeing their season come to an end.
Boston opened the scoring with 7:47 remaining in the second period, mere moments after a shot from Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk hit the crossbar. The puck caromed around the boards to Krejci, who unleashed a shot from the top of the right circle that sailed over the right pad and under the blocker of Bobrovsky.
The Bruins doubled the advantage at 8:58 of the third period, as Johansson weaved toward the middle of the ice before wristing a shot that handcuffed Bobrovsky. The two-time Vezina Trophy recipient was unable to corral the puck as it trickled over the goal line.
Boston added to the lead at 10:39 of the third when defenseman Torey Krug’s diagonal feed was redirected home at the doorstep by Backes.
Columbus forward Josh Anderson exited the contest with 20 seconds remaining in the second period after he was jarred by Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy, who received a two-minute penalty for an illegal check to the head. Anderson returned to start the third period.
McAvoy said of the incident, “Hockey play. Just trying to deliver a legal check.”
Columbus captain Nick Foligno’s response to the play: “I’m not going to go there. It (stinks). You just hate seeing your teammate lying on the ground with a hit that’s unnecessary.”
The Blue Jackets mustered two shots on the unsuccessful power play, and Matt Duchene’s point-blank chance on another man-advantage situation was denied by the stick of Rask. Defenseman Zach Werenski’s wrist shot from above the left circle rang the iron on the same power-play opportunity.
Boston nearly opened the scoring at 8:53 of the first period. Columbus-area native Sean Kuraly put the puck in the net off Chris Wagner’s backhanded feed from the left circle following a feverish sequence in front. The Blue Jackets successfully challenged the apparent tally, with officials deeming that fourth-liner Joakim Nordstrom interfered with Bobrovsky prior to Kuraly’s shot.
The Blue Jackets’ defeat sends Bobrovsky into free agency.
The goalie said of his future, “It’s a big decision, it’s a lifetime decision. I don’t want to stand here and discuss it after we just lost a game.”
–Field Level Media