The Boston Bruins needed their best players to shine in Game 4 on Thursday night, and they did exactly that.
Because of that performance the Bruins were able to even their Round 2 series with the Columbus Blue Jackets at two games apiece thanks to a 4-1 win that was, at times, pretty chaotic.
Let’s take a quick look at everything that unfolded at Nationwide Arena.
We need to start with the Bruins’ top line as it was finally able to get going after a quiet start to the series. The Bruins reunited the line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak for this game and that trio combined for three of their four goals. Pastrnak got things started just 3:33 into the game to give the Bruins the lead, which was followed by Bergeron adding a power play goal just five minutes later to extend the lead. Bergeron would score another power play goal late in the third period to put the game away.
While the stars at the top were doing their job to jumpstart the offense, starting goalie Tuukka Rask was absolutely spectacular in net stopping 39 of the 40 shots he faced on the night.
That includes a Boone Jenner penalty shot just six minutes into the game that could have tied the score at one with the Bruins on the power play.
It would not be be the only shorthanded opportunity Rask would have to stop on the night as the Bruins gave up chances all night on the man-advantage for much of the night (at least five of them, almost all of which were by Jenner).
Had it not been for the play of Rask this game could have easily gone in a different direction, or at least been a lot closer on the scoreboard at the end.
The only goal he allowed was a controversial one that was the result of Artemi Panarin scoring after the puck hit the protective netting behind the Bruins goal, which was missed by all four on-ice officials.
Along with the emergence of the Bruins’ top line, a penalty shot, countless shorthanded chances, and a controversial goal, there was also another controversial hit in the series as Columbus’ Dean Kukan was given a two-minute minor for this hit to the head of Bruins forward David Backes.
Backes was down for a few moments and exited the game for a while before ultimately returning. It is a play the NHL’s Department of Player Safety will almost certainly look at, but given the standard that has been established this postseason it may not be enough to reach the level of supplemental discipline.
It was an eventful night in what has been a ridiculously close series through the first four games. Now it all comes down to which team can win two of the next three for a chance to go to the Eastern Conference Final.
Game 5 of Bruins-Blue Jackets is Saturday at 7:15 ET on NBC.