COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Jake DeBrusk scored his second goal of the game 1:03 into overtime to lift the Boston Bruins to a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.
Zach Werenski scored late in the second period to tie the score for Columbus. After a scoreless third, Hampus Lindholm picked up a Blue Jackets turnover at the blue line in overtime and fed DeBrusk, who beat Elvis Merzlikins from the left circle for his 21st of the season.
DeBrusk scored in his fifth straight game, Craig Smith also scored, Charlie McAvoy had a pair of assists and Linus Ullmark stopped 20 shots in the penalty-filled game as the Bruins bolstered their playoff positioning. They moved into third place in the Atlantic Division, even with Tampa Bay but holding the tiebreaker with one more win with 13 games left.
“It wasn’t our best,” DeBrusk said. “Give Columbus credit. They were pushing pretty much all night and taking it to us in the neutral zone.”
Boston has won three straight and 10 of the last 12. They are 17-3-1 in their last 21.
“When you win that often, you obviously have the ability to find ways to win,” Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said. “You have the ability to get out of funks quickly.”
The Blue Jackets are going in the other direction, losing a season-high seventh in a row. Emil Bemstrom had a goal, and Merzlikins made 34 saves for Columbus, which dropped below .500.
Bemstrom got the Blue Jackets on the board 4:31 into the game, outracing Brandon Carlo and lifting a shot over Ullmark’s glove from the left circle for his fifth of the season.
Late in the first, Boston’s Brad Marchand put a monstrous hit on Andrew Peeke at the glass in the Columbus end. With Peeke on the ground and no penalty call, DeBrusk got a breakaway and scored at the other end.
The Blue Jackets were livid, and Jakub Voracek picked up a 10-minute misconduct penalty for raging at officials. He didn’t tone down his criticism after the game.
“You have a motionless player laying there on the ice, for a long time and (officials) let it run out,” Voracek said. “For me that’s inexcusable. That’s why I was so mad. I was worried about (Peeke). He hadn’t moved. I think they need to have a little bit better feel for the game at that moment.”
Peeke was helped to the bench and returned to the game later. The Blue Jackets roughed up Marchand where and when they could for the rest of the game. Marchand and Peeke tangled in the second period with both penalized for roughing, and Peeke went to the box again in the third for taking Marchand down.
Smith put the Bruins up 2-1 in the second with a wrist shot from the high slot that beat Merzlikins amid heavy traffic in front for his 16th. Werenski, returning after three games out with a concussion, beat Ullmark with 16 seconds remaining in the period, the defenseman’s 11th of the season and first tally since March 10.
“I’m just proud of the way we responded after that Marchand-(Peeke) hit,” he said. “I think our whole group was physical. We were playing hard.”
Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen was back after missing three games while in COVID-19 protocols. Assistant coach Steve McCarty remains out, and associate coach Pascal Vincent — who ran the show while Larsen was sidelined — is now in protocols.
Boston C Trent Frederic left the game with an upper-body injury and didn’t return. … F Carson Meyer, who grew up in suburban Columbus and played at Ohio State, made his NHL debut for the Blue Jackets. … Boston D Josh Brown, who came in a trade with Ottawa at the deadline, was back in the lineup after leaving Thursday’s game with an upper-body injury. … Boston D Derek Forbort missed the game with a lower-body injury.