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Pastrnak leads Bruins to shootout win over Blue Jackets

March 6, 2022 GMT
Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron, right, scores against Columbus Blue Jackets' Elvis Merzlikins, left, as Taylor Hall fights for the rebound during the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, March 5, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron, right, scores against Columbus Blue Jackets' Elvis Merzlikins, left, as Taylor Hall fights for the rebound during the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, March 5, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron, right, scores against Columbus Blue Jackets' Elvis Merzlikins, left, as Taylor Hall fights for the rebound during the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, March 5, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
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Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron, right, scores against Columbus Blue Jackets' Elvis Merzlikins, left, as Taylor Hall fights for the rebound during the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, March 5, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
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Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron, right, scores against Columbus Blue Jackets' Elvis Merzlikins, left, as Taylor Hall fights for the rebound during the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, March 5, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — David Pastrnak scored in the shootout and had an assist to lift the surging Boston Bruins over the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-4 on Saturday night.

Boston has won seven of eight and is three points ahead of Washington for the top wild card and seventh seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Bruins also moved within two points of third-place Toronto in the Atlantic Division.

Jake DeBrusk, Erik Haula, Craig Smith and Patrice Bergeron scored for Boston, and Brad Marchand added two assists. Jeremy Swayman stopped 20 shots for his sixth straight win.

“All I was focused on was the next shot, no matter what happened, if there was a goal or a big save,” Swayman said. “All I cared about was next shot, making the next play. And the guys in front of me helped me a lot, so that gave me a lot of confidence. It was a great win.”

Jakub Voracek’s goal with 1.8 seconds left in regulation sent the game to overtime. Gus Nyquist, Vladislav Gavrikov and Zach Werenski also scored for the Blue Jackets. Elvis Merzlikins made 28 saves but Columbus lost for the fourth time in five games.

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DeBrusk put Boston on the board at 10:39 of the first period with his deflection of Brad Marchand’s shot through a crowd in front of Merzlikins.

Nyquist made it 1-all at 16:57, picking up a loose puck and roofing it over Swayman. Columbus took the lead with a minute remaining in the first when Swayman’s attempt to clear a shot landed on Gavrikov’s stick and he buried it for his first goal since Nov. 22.

Boston came back at 1:51 of the second when Haula tied the score 2-all with a wrister through Merzlikins’ pads for his third goal in four games, extending his point streak to six games.

“A lot of guys can feel good about themselves,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “That’s what you want with your group — to feel they can win every night.”

Columbus pulled ahead again at 14:28 of the second on Werenski’s wrister from the point with 46 seconds left in Charlie Coyle’s slashing penalty. The goal was Werenski’s fourth of the season with the man advantage and first since missing four games.

The score was knotted again when Smith scored off a give-and-go with Connor Clifton at 4:40 of the third, and Boston went up 4-3 on Bergeron’s power-play goal at 14:58 of the third, his seventh of the season with the man advantage.

Voracek sent the game to overtime with his power-play slap shot from above the left circle.

“To get one there late was huge,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said. “We had our looks in OT. We just didn’t get it done.”

HONORING NASH

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Rick Nash, the Blue Jackets’ all-time leader in goals, assists, points and games played, was honored pregame as the team’s first player to have his number retired. The former captain, who wore No. 61, finished his NHL career with the Bruins in 2017-18. He had 289 goals and 258 assists in 674 games and appeared in five All-Star Games for Columbus from 2002-12.

CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN

Former Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno, now with the Bruins, made his first visit to Nationwide Arena since being traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2021. Foligno ranks third in Blue Jackets history in games played (599), assists (192) and points (334), and fourth in goals (142).

WELCOME BACK

Curtis Lazar returned to the Bruins’ lineup after missing four games with an upper-body injury.

INJURY UPDATE

Boston’s Urho Vaakanainen, who has not played since Feb. 19, is back skating but did not make the lineup. Brendan Gaunce remains day-to-day for Columbus with an upper-body injury.

ROAD WARRIORS

The Bruins closed out a 5-1-0 trip.

ON POINT

Pastrnak extended his point streak to eight games. He leads the Bruins with 58 points.

LONG TIME COMING

Clifton’s assist on Smith’s goal was his first point since Dec. 11.

HELPING HAND

Voracek’s team-leading 39th assist on Werenski’s goal was his ninth in nine games and ranks him third in the NHL in primary assists with 29.

CLOSING TIME

The loss was the Blue Jackets’ third straight in which they had a lead going into the third period.

FEELING AT HOME

The crowd of 19,434 was the largest in franchise history.

HE SAID IT

“Every time someone says Blue Jackets, you think of Rick Nash,” Voracek said after the ceremony. “Like it or not, it’s still like that.”

UP NEXT

Bruins: Host the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night.

Blue Jackets: Host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night.

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