By Mitch Stacy, AP Sports Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Sergei Bobrovsky kept up his impressive postseason play, making 36 saves as the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Boston Bruins 2-1 on Tuesday night to take a 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Boone Jenner and Matt Duchene scored for the Blue Jackets, who won a second-round home game for first time in franchise history.
Game 4 of the best-of-seven series is Thursday night.
Tuukka Rask had 32 saves for Boston. The Bruins’ only goal was a flukey one in the last minute of the second period, the only chink in an otherwise brilliant game by Bobrovsky, who is having the best postseason of his career thus far.
Bobrovsky withstood a flurry by Boston earlier in the second period, including an acrobatic save that saw him sweep away a puck from in front of the goal line. The Bruins pulled Rask with 2:11 left but couldn’t beat Bobrovsky with the 6-on-5 advantage.
Columbus overcame deficits twice to win Game 2 in overtime at Boston on Saturday but never trailed in Game 3. There were some big hits but the game was less testy than the previous two meetings between the two teams in the postseason.
The Blue Jackets struck late in the first period when Jenner, skating left to right across the slot, slid the puck past Rask on the glove side before the goalie could adjust. The tally with 1:23 left was Jenner’s first of the postseason.
With Zdeno Chara in the penalty box for high-sticking Jenner in the face, the Blue Jackets swarmed for an extended time in front of the Boston net before Duchene tapped in another goal with 7:18 left in the second.
Boston made it a one-goal game with 40 seconds left in the middle period when in a knot of players in front the Columbus net, the puck trickled behind Bobrovsky and over the line. The goal initially was waved off by an official, but a video review determined that play hadn’t stopped before the puck slid in. Jake DeBrusk got credit for the goal.
Boston’s best opportunity to tie the score came with just under 9 minutes left when David Savard went to the penalty box for tripping, but 16 seconds later Patrice Bergeron was whistled for the same infraction, creating a 4-on-4 and then a brief Columbus advantage.
NOTES: Tuesday’s game was the latest in April that Columbus has played in franchise history. The Blue Jackets, who won a playoff series for the first time, have never played in May. … Columbus rookie Alexandre Texier was a healthy scratch for the first time in the playoffs. … David Krejci joined Ray Bourque (125) and Bobby Orr (66) as the third player in Boston franchise history to have 60 playoff assists. ,,, Columbus has won 13 of 15 games dating back to March 24.
UP NEXT: Game 4 on Thursday night.