Bruins win in shootout, snap losing streak


Bruins win in shootout, snap losing streak

Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A late game-tying short-handed goal, a rookie stepping up, and a composed backup goalie filling in for one of the best in the game all have the Boston Bruins confident they can get back to winning.

With starter Tom Thomas resting, Tuukka Rask made 34 saves and stopped all three Columbus attempts in the shootout, and rookie Tyler Seguin scored the lone shootout goal to lift the Bruins to a 3-2 win over the Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.

The win ended the Bruins' season-worst four-game losing streak.

"Definitely, it was one of his biggest and best games of the year," Boston coach Claude Julien said of Rask. "He was very poised and I thought he did a great job in the shootout."

Seguin, the No. 2 selection in the 2010 draft, didn't shy away from his opportunity, either. He confidently faked Steve Mason with a left-to-right move and scored inside the right post.

"I felt great," said Seguin, who was scratched the last two games. "It's definitely nice to get back in the lineup and contribute to the team."

David Krejci and Rich Peverly - who tied it with just over 5 minutes left on an impressive individual effort - scored regulation goals for Boston, which won the 2,800th game in the history of the 87-year-old franchise.

"It was nice to see that even though they took the lead in the third we found a way to get back into it," Julien said. "It was a big goal there by Peverly, the short-handed goal."

The Bruins, who won in Columbus for the first time since 2003, entered as the third seed in the Eastern Conference, only two points ahead of Northeast Division rival Montreal.

Grant Clitsome and Scottie Upshall scored for Columbus, which blew two one-goal leads and has lost eight of nine, all but falling out of playoff contention in the West. Mason finished with 27 saves.

"We're as happy as you can be without getting two points," Blue Jackets rookie coach Scott Arniel said. "I said to the coaches that was one of our best games in probably two or three weeks."

Both teams had a flurry of chances in overtime. Boston peppered Mason in the first 30 seconds, leading to a Columbus timeout. With just over a minute left, Columbus' Antoine Vermette and Jan Hejda were hammering away around the goal-mouth, but Rask didn't budge.

Tied 1-1 midway through the third period, Rask seemed to overplay a scoring chance by R.J. Umberger, sliding far out of his crease. The puck came to Upshall, who slotted it home for his 20th, extending his career high. The goal was his fourth in eight games since being acquired by Columbus at the trade deadline.

"It was a game that was right there for us to get," Upshall said. "I thought we did a lot of great things."

Looking to capitalize on a power play moments later, Derick Brassard gave the puck away just inside the attacking zone. Peverly charged down the ice, turned defenseman Fedor Tyutin inside out, and stuffed the puck between Mason's legs 2 minutes after Upshall's goal.

Right off the ensuing center-ice faceoff, Columbus cut in and Antoine Vermette rung a shot off the right post on a quick pass from Upshall.

In an up-tempo first two periods, Clitsome converted a slap shot through traffic with under a minute left.

Krejci pulled the Bruins even at 12:20 of the second, deflecting a blast from Chara, who was mildy booed throughout the game. Last week, Chara's controversial hit on Montreal's Max Pacioretty sidelined the forward with a fractured vertebrae and severe concussion.

"Both teams had their opportunities and obviously they got the better of us in the shootout," Mason said.

Notes: The Bruins' all-time franchise record is 2,800-1,722-791-99 . . . Boston improved to 2-5 in shootouts, while Columbus dropped to 4-6 . . . Boston's Mark Recchi, the active leader in games, assists and points, moved past Dave Andreychuk into fifth place on the NHL's all-time games played list . . . The Bruins are 7-7-2 this season against the Western Conference. Columbus is 10-2-2 against the East . . . Boston's Patrice Bergeron, third on the team in scoring, has been held without a point in seven straight games, a season high . . . Nash has not scored in eight games, one short of his longest stretch without goal.

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

BOSTON -- Malcolm Subban still believes he can be a No. 1 goaltender in the NHL.

While that sort of sheer, brazen self-confidence is admirable -- especially after getting yanked from a 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden Tuesday -- pretty much all the evidence points to the contrary. Given a shot because of injuries to Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin, nearly two years after getting pulled from his only other NHL appearance when he gave up three goals on six shots in St. Louis, Subban was taken out Tuesday night after allowing three goals on eight second-period shots.

He maintained a defiantly confident tone afterwards, a testament to his maturity and mental toughness.

“It sucks," said Subban, who has now allowed six goals on 22 career shots faced in two starts. “Obviously, I’m just trying to finish the game, let alone win one . . . but what can you do now, right?

"Obviously I want to be a No. 1 goaltender in the league. I was a [first-round draft choice] for a reason. I have the potential, and I just have to show it. Obviously I haven’t done that so far yet, but I think I’m getting closer to it. Honestly, I think I can do it right now. I just got to show it . . . I didn’t [do it] today, but tomorrow’s a new day.”

Given the stunningly bad quality of his two NHL starts, combined with a thoroughly pedestrian body of work at the AHL level over the last three years, there is literally zero evidence Subban is tracking to be a franchise goaltender. Meanwhile, a sizeable selection of goaltenders taken after him in the 2012 NHL Draft have proven their worth and advanced to the elite level: Matt Murray. Frederik Anderson. Connor Hellebuyck. Joonas Korpisalo.

Subban was hoping all along to break through this season in Boston, but things went south on him quickly Tuesday in his first chance to do so.

Hampered by a Bruins team not playing well in front of him, the first goal he allowed was a fluttering Charlie Coyle shot that trickled between his glove hand and the top of his leg pad. The third was a softie low and to the glove side, a power-play strike authored by Ryan Suter. Instead of hanging in and giving his team a chance to win, Subban helped put the Bruins in a hole they couldn't escape.

While Claude Julien felt the poor performance "could be a combination" of goaltending and overall defensive lapses, he didn't let Subban off the hook.

“There are some goals -- I’m not going to lie -- there are some goals that we thought our goaltenders should have had," said the coach.

But he also wasn't going to place the blame solely at Subban's feet.

"[I’m] not here to talk about a goaltender -- who’s in one of his first few games -- because he let in a couple of bad goals,” said Julien. “We were terrible in front of him . . .  and that’s the big picture. That’s more important.

“I don’t care who’s in net. I think when you have some injuries you need to be better in those situations and we weren’t good enough tonight. It doesn’t matter if Tuukka is in net and we had injuries up front, or we’re lacking players here or there. You’ve got to let the system take care of the game. If you play it the right way, you have a chance to win. When you don’t, you don’t. That’s what happened [against Minnesota].”

There’s no question the defense in front of Subban wasn’t nearly good enough. Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug in particular struggled to lock things down in the defensive zone. The wide-open shots from the slot -- like the Chris Stewart score in the second period 12 seconds after Minnesota’s opening goal -- are indicative of a hockey club that’s not sticking to the game plan once things start to get a little wonky.

But this is about a player (Subban) who should be entering the NHL stage of his career after being a first-round pick in 2012. Anybody would be hard-pressed to see him as an NHL goalie after his two Bruins appearances. Combine that with the lack of dominance at the AHL level over the last three years, and there’s a better chance that Subban will be a major first-round bust rather than a late-blooming No. 1 goaltender.

The scary part is that Subban and fellow young netminder Zane McIntyre are all the Bruins have for Wednesday night’s game against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, and perhaps longer if Rask can’t make a rapid recovery from his lower body injury.

Maybe Subban can be a bit better than he’s shown thus far, and, to be fair, the three goals allowed to Minnesota weren't all his fault. The bottom line, however, is that he should be up for doing this job right now. Tuesday was a big chance for the young goalie to make a statement that he was ready for it.

Instead he looked like the same goalie who'd been pulled from two of his first four AHL starts this season, one who's never going to truly be ready for the call in Boston.