By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Bruins winger Chris Wagner had a simple question for his childhood friend and teammate, Charlie Coyle, after Coyle sealed the deal on a Game 1 overtime victory over the Blue Jackets: “How do you like playing at home?”
Coyle’s answer was probably a lot better than what it would have been had he not delivered the game-tying and game-winner goals in the 3-2 final that the Jackets flipped on its head with two goals in 13 seconds in the third period.
Charlie Coyle scored at 5:15 of overtime as the @NHLBruins handed the Blue Jackets their first loss of the 2019 #StanleyCup Playoffs and took a 1-0 lead in their Second Round series. #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/UZ7bTxHwHd— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 26, 2019
It was in the third period that Coyle turned over a puck that ended up in the back of Boston’s net, and sparked that 13-second run that put the Bruins in a hole that they certainly definitely deserve given their play to that point.
Even when the Bruins, running on two days rest from their Game 7 win over the Maple Leafs, put themselves in a perfect position to squander what was a hot-but-goalless start to their second-round showdown with the Blue Jackets.
Whistled for a penalty when Charlie Coyle hooked the Jackets’ Alexandre Texier, the Bruins went to the kill in the midst of a Game 1 stretch that saw them outshooting Columbus 9-1, and with Sergei Bobrovsky looking like a man already sucking wind after a nine-day layoff between games. Oh, and they were giving a chance to the Columbus power-play unit that had converted on half of their opportunities in a four-game sweep of the league-best Tampa Bay Lightning in round one.
Instead of the Blue Jackets spoiling the B’s fun, though, it was Noel Acciari that broke the draw with a shorthanded goal.
While the Acciari goal didn’t open the floodgates like you would have thought given their pressure at the Columbus net (and given Bobrovsky’s rebound issues out of the gate), the Bruins still finished the first period with a 1-0 edge, and led the Jackets in shots by a 14-4 mark.
It was in the second period, though, that Columbus began to find their skating legs and generate consistent offensive-zone time against Tuukka Rask. With another two power-play cracks against Rask and Co. from the Blue Jackets, it was the Bruins and their 32-year-old netminder kept Columbus off the scoreboard with some timely saves and clean d-zone exits (a rarity in Boston’s first round) while the Jackets’ Bobrovsky did the same at the other end.
It took just those aforementioned 13 seconds for the Bruins to lose control of a Game 1 that started out as 100 percent theirs, though, as deflection goals from Riley Nash and Artemi Panarin were enough to put the Jackets in the driver’s seat.
And when the Bruins saw their power-play misses add up — they failed to do anything with 48 seconds of power-play time to begin the third before whiffing on their fifth chance of the night, granted less than a minute after the previous one ended — that 2-1 deficit left them chasing after a goaltender that was on top of his game (and them some) in Bobrovsky.
Once down, the B’s tried to fire as much as they could on Bobrovsky, but the Russian netminder was up to task, and failed to produce the massive rebounds that the B’s lamented not capitalizing in the first 20 minutes of action.
That was until Marcus Johansson fed Coyle a pass so beautiful you didn’t even realize Coyle ripped the shot through Bobrovsky, and tied things up with just 4:35 remaining in regulation and sent the B’s to their first overtime of the playoffs.
Rask finished the night with stops on 20-of-22 shots, while Bobrovsky took the tough loss behind a 34-of-37 effort.
Bruins center David Krejci, meanwhile, exited the game after taking a hard hit from Nash in the third period. Krejci did not enter the league’s concussion protocol, but is considered day-to-day, according to Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy.
The Bruins and Jackets will return to TD Garden for Game 2 on Saturday night.