BOSTON (AP) — David Pastrnak took control of the game, and then he took over the postgame news conference from linemate and Game 5 co-star Brad Marchand.
After scoring twice, including the tiebreaking goal with 1:28 left, Pastrnak noticed that the man known as a “Little Ball of Hate” was getting a little salty about the questions surrounding their line’s lack of production earlier in the playoffs.
“I’ll take this,” Pastrnak said with a smile, “Marchy’s a bit crispy tonight.”
One game after the Bruins’ top line combined for five points, Pastrnak, Marchand and Patrice Bergeron scored three goals and totaled six points in Game 5 on Saturday night to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 and give Boston a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Pastrnak flipped a cross-ice pass from Marchand into the goal to cap a wild third period, and Tuukka Rask stopped 33 shots for the Bruins. Marchand had a goal and two assists, and David Krejci also scored for Boston.
“They break through the other night and now they’re feeling good about themselves,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “They’re dominant when they’re on. And when they’re feeling it, it’s a tall task for the other team.”
Sergei Bobrovsky made 32 saves for the Blue Jackets, who need a win in Game 6 on Monday night back in Columbus to force the series back to Boston for a decisive seventh game on Wednesday.
The winner will advance to the Eastern Conference finals to face the Carolina Hurricanes, who swept the New York Islanders in their series.
“Things happen for a reason. I truly believe that,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. “We’ll be back here for Game 7.”
Asked what gives him that confidence, he said: “Because we will.”
When the comments were relayed to Marchand and Pastrnak, they declined to take the bait.
With Hall of Famer Bobby Orr greeting the team before the game and then watching from a box, Rask got some help from the post when Matt Duchene stretched out to try to tip the tying goal in with less than a minute remaining and Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky off for an extra skater.
In all, six goals were scored in the third, four during a 3 1/2-minute span that turned Boston’s 2-0 lead into a 3-3 tie.
The Bruins led 1-0 after one period and took a 2-0 lead early in the third when Connor Clifton’s crossing pass came through the crease to Marchand and he one-timed it toward the upper right corner. Bobrovsky stretched out his glove to block it, but the effort caused him to fall forward onto the ice.
Before he could right himself Marchand had corralled the rebound and shot again at the same spot — this time finding the net.
TORTS BEING TORTS
Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella was short with his answers in the postgame news conference, cutting one reporter off by saying: “Don’t ask stupid questions right now, guys. Ask me some questions that mean something.”
After praising his players’ energy, he said, “We have to make plays, too.”
With about 10 minutes left in the third, Jones flipped one toward the crease and it deflected off Matt Grzelcyk’s stick and Rask’s pads to sneak inside the post. It took more than three minutes to review — and no view of the puck crossing the line was shown to the TD Garden crowd — but the goal was confirmed.
Just 43 seconds later, Pastrnak wristed the puck in from the left circle to restore Boston’s 2-goal lead. Fifty-one seconds after that, the Blue Jackets cut it to 3-2 on Ryan Dzingel’s goal and less than two minutes after that they tied it on a slapshot from the high slot by Dean Kukan.
“I thought we bounced back well from that call. Scored then next goal. Thought we had it under control,” Cassidy said. “Clearly we didn’t.”
NOTES: Krejci needs five more points in the postseason to reach 100 in his career. He would be the fifth Bruins player to reach the milestone. … Bruins forward Noel Acciari was scratched with an undisclosed injury. He was a game-time decision and was replaced by Chris Wagner. … Columbus was without Riley Nash, who also missed Game 4. … Columbus signed third-round draft pick goalie Daniil Tarasov to a three-year, entry level contract.
The Blue Jackets return home for Game 6. They are 3-1 there so far in the postseason. Boston is 3-2 on the road in the 2019 playoffs.
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