By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Just 10 games into the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Bruins once again find themselves in uncomfortable territory, as they officially trail their second-round series against the Blue Jackets 2-1 after a 2-1 loss in Columbus on Tuesday night.
It’s now the Black and Gold’s fourth separate series deficit this postseason, and comes against a goaltender that’s just plain white-hot in the Jackets’ Sergei Bobrovsky.
Downright unbeatable for much of the night — and this series as a whole, in fact — the Blue Jackets only needed to provide Bobrovsky a pair of goals to drop the Bruins in this one.
The first came when Tuukka Rask challenged Boone Jenner late in the first period but came up empty when Jenner made a side-to-side move to shake Connor Clifton and beat Rask for an ugly goal to give Columbus a 1-0 edge through 20.
Boston’s deficit doubled thanks to a Brad Marchand penalty in the middle period, too, as Matt Duchene was the one that put the dagger in an exhausted Boston penalty kill that legitimately couldn’t clear the puck out of their own zone for almost two full minutes before the goal. It was within that stretch that the Jackets gassed Zdeno Chara and Brandon Carlo, forced Noel Acciari and Sean Kuraly to suck wind, and hammered Rask for five shots before Duchene’s strike.
It was pretty much as ugly as it could get for the Bruins.
But the Bruins ended a 101:01 goal-scoring drought before the end of the second period, though, as a Jake DeBrusk chance on ‘continuous play’ squeaked through Bobrovsky with just 40 seconds remaining in the period.
Their quest for a game-tying goal carried on in the third period, with Torey Krug nearly blasting a puck through Bobrovsky off a faceoff win just 3:59 into the frame. But Bobrovsky gobbled it up. Boston’s next best chance came just a minute and a half later with Noel Acciari between the circles, but his shot went off iron and remained out of danger.
But no chance was greater than the third-period power-play opportunity drawn by Marchand with 8:42 left in the game.
…Then it was over just 16 seconds later as Patrice Bergeron was whistled for tripping Josh Anderson.
The Bruins had a final gasp with Rask pulled, as Torey Krug fed Bergeron a perfect slap-pass that No. 37 nearly snuck through Bobrovsky’s five-hole, but the Columbus netminder said no for his 33rd save of the night, with 1:01 in the third period.
But, again, Bobrovsky was the story of this night, really, as he was downright untouchable, and even had the posts in his corner on this night, with three different point-blank chances clanging off the red iron. With that 36-of-37 performance, Bobrovsky’s second-round performance is now headlined by a ridiculous .943 save percentage.
Rask finished with stops on all but two of the 34 shots thrown his way.
The Bruins finished the night 0-for-2 on the power play, and are now just 1-for-10 on the man advantage in the series.
Game 4 will be Thursday night at Nationwide Arena.