Preview: Bruins at Blue Jackets
The Boston Bruins saw the second-longest point streak in franchise history come to an end last time out and will look to start another big run when they visit the struggling Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night. The Bruins went 15-0-4 in 19 games, going without a regulation loss since Jan. 19, before dropping a 4-2 decision at Pittsburgh on Sunday and now set their sights on holding second place in the Atlantic Division.
“I think we can be proud of (the streak), but not satisfied,” Boston defenseman John Moore told reporters. “There’s no reason we can’t get back to work. ... That’s the special part about this group; guys really push each other. We expect a lot out of each other, so we’ll be ready on Tuesday.” The Bruins hold a four-point lead on Toronto for second in the Atlantic, which would mean home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs, and must be alert against a hungry Columbus team that is scratching and clawing to get into the postseason. The Blue Jackets are in a virtual tie for the second wild-card spot on the Eastern Conference, but hold the tiebreaker on Montreal, after losing for the fifth time in eight games Monday with a 2-0 setback at the New York Islanders. Columbus leading scorer Artemi Panarin (73 points) has managed two assists in the first six games of March and did not register a shot on net Monday.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NESN (Boston), FS Ohio (Columbus)
ABOUT THE BRUINS (42-18-9): David Krejci has scored in four consecutive games to move within one of his fourth season with at least 20 goals, and the veteran center reached 60 points for the sixth time in his career. Brad Marchand is riding a seven-game point streak in which he scored four goals and assisted on seven others while center Patrice Bergeron (797 career points) has scored four times with three assists in his past seven contests. Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (right arm) was ruled out for Tuesday’s game and forward Jake DeBrusk (22 goals) could return soon after missing three games with a foot injury.
ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS (38-28-3): Panarin is not the only offensive threat scuffling this month as Pierre-Luc Dubois (54 points) was held off the scoresheet in the last six games and fellow center Josh Anderson managed one point in the same span. Right wing Cam Atkinson has led Columbus of late, recording three of his career-high 38 goals in the past four games while sitting second on the team with career-best 63 points. Trade deadline acquisitions Matt Duchene (four points, minus-3 rating, 10 games) and Ryan Dzingel (three points, eight contests) have not made major impacts yet.
1. Columbus F Boone Jenner, who is two shy of 100 career goals, missed Monday’s game because of illness.
2. Boston G Tuukka Rask, who was rested Sunday, has won four straight starts while allowing six goals on 85 shots.
3. The teams, who have combined for 24 goals in their last three meetings, match up again Saturday in Boston and April 2 in Columbus.
PREDICTION: Blue Jackets 4, Bruins 3