Preview: Bruins at Blue Jackets
The Boston Bruins' top line was a fortunate carom away from being shut out in the first three games of the Eastern Conference second-round series. After erupting for 11 points over the next two, the trio of David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron looks to help the Bruins put away the host Blue Jackets in Game 6 on Monday when the teams reconvene in Columbus, Ohio.
"They break through the other night and now they're feeling good about themselves," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters. "They're dominant when they're on. And when they're feeling it, it's a tall task for the other team." Pastrnak answered scoring and setting up a goal in a 5-2 win in Game 4 by netting his second goal of the game with 1:28 remaining in the third period of a 4-3 victory two nights later. Undaunted by seeing the Blue Jackets lose consecutive contests, coach John Tortorella provided bulletin-board material with his press conference following Saturday's setback. "Things happen for a reason. And I truly believe that. We'll be back here for Game 7," said Tortorella, who was unsuccessful with a similar boast in last year's first-round series against eventual Stanley Cup champion Washington.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, CBC, Sportsnet, TVA
ABOUT THE BRUINS: Bergeron tallied twice in Game 4 and Marchand upped the ante two nights later, scoring his first goal of the series and setting up two others to push the Blue Jackets to the brink of elimination. "If you give a line like that enough games under their belt against a certain opponent, they're going to find enough things that work," defenseman Torey Krug told reporters. "... Once we get that line going consistently, we're a very scary team." David Krejci has been "scary" in his own right, opening the scoring in the second period on Saturday for his eighth point (three goals, five assists) in his last 10 games.
ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS: Although defenseman Seth Jones has recorded six (two goals, four assists) of his nine points in the playoffs on the road, the 24-year-old believes his team ratchets up the intensity when it plays at Nationwide Arena. "Just play smart hockey, play our style of hockey for a full 60 minutes, we should be fine," Jones said of Monday's contest. "We're excited about the energy in the building and the way the environment and our fans are going to react for us in Game 6." Artemi Panarin is producing regardless of venue, notching an assist on defenseman Dean Kukan's third-period tally on Saturday for his 22nd point (eight goals, 14 assists) in his last 17 games.
1. Columbus RW Cam Atkinson has four assists in his last four games.
2. Boston C Charlie Coyle has been held off the scoresheet in the last three games after recording seven points (five goals, two assists) in his previous eight contests.
3. The Blue Jackets are 15-of-18 on the penalty kill in this series and 20-of-24 in the playoffs.
PREDICTION: Bruins 4, Blue Jackets 2