By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Bruins sure are happy to have David Pastrnak back.
The Bruins’ lethal goal scorer had been struggling mightily in this series against the Columbus Blue Jackets before regaining his footing with a goal and assist to aid a Bruins win in Game 4.
In Game 5, he came through even bigger.
Pastrnak scored just after the midway point of the third period to stretch a Bruins lead back to two goals, and after the Blue Jackets had tied the game at three goals apiece, it was Pastrnak who delivered the biggest goal of the game. Pastrnak broke down the right wing as Brad Marchand carried the puck down the left wing. Marchand — who himself had scored Boston’s second goal of the night — sent a pass Pastrnak’s way, and Pastrnak was able to redirect the puck home past Sergei Bobrovsky for the game-winning goal.
Now the Boston Bruins are heading to Columbus with a chance to end the series in six, after Saturday’s 4-3 win.
The Blue Jackets scored their first goal of the game midway through the third period, after a very lengthy video review confirmed that a deflected puck crossed the goal line, despite Tuukka Rask’s best efforts to pin it against the left post. The play was not ruled a goal on the ice, and despite a lack of clear visual evidence of the puck crossing the line, the league office in Toronto ruled it a good goal.
That made the score 2-1 in favor of Boston, but that score didn’t hold long.
David Pastrnak carried into the Columbus zone on a 2-on-1 with Patrice Bergeron, and after initially appearing to be setting up a pass, Pastrnak fired a wrister past Sergei Bobrovsky, giving the Bruins back their two-goal lead.
Pastrnak’s goal came just 43 seconds after the Blue Jackets were awarded their goal.
It was the Blue Jackets who had their chance to answer not long after Pastrnak’s goal, with Matt Duchene weaving a pass through some traffic to Ryan Dzingel, and with Dzingel beating Rask with a top-shelf snipe to put Boston’s lead back at one with 7:53 left in regulation.
Dean Kukan then unleashed a one-time slapper from the high slot with 6:00 to play, beating Rask cleanly over the left shoulder and tying the game at 3-3 with 6:00 to play. Artemi Panarin recorded the primary assist on the goal.
David Krejci scored the first goal of the game, finishing off an excellent sequence of passes from David Backes and Jake DeBrusk. Backes intercepted a pass in his defensive zone before bursting through the neutral zone and dropping a pass to DeBrusk near the offensive blue line. DeBrusk passed up a shot of his own to send a cross-ice pass to Krejci, and though he initially had the puck bounce off his stick blade, Krejci managed to get enough on his shot to beat a stumbling Bobrovsky to give Boston a 1-0 lead.
That was the lone goal of the first 40 minutes of hockey, a stretch which saw Tuukka Rask and Bobrovsky going back-and-forth making spectacular saves.
Rask had 23 saves through two periods, while Bobrovsky had 20.
Brad Marchand doubled Boston’s lead 4:51 into the third period, scoring on a rebound of his own shot, on which Bobrovsky initially made a dazzling glove save. But the rebound went straight to Marchand’s stick, and with two Columbus skaters slow to react, Marchand beat Bobrovsky on the second chance to put the Bruins up by two.
Rask made 33 saves on the night, while Bobrovsky stopped 32 Boston shots.
The teams entered this Game 5 tied at 2-2, after the Bruins won in Columbus 4-1 in Game 4 on Thursday night. The Blue Jackets had won on the Boston ice a week prior to Game 5, with a double-overtime game-winner scored by Matt Duchene in Game 2, to even the series 1-1 at the time.
Game 6 will be played Monday night in Columbus at 7 p.m. ET.