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Recap: Tuukka Rask shuts out Columbus, sends the Bruins to the Eastern Conference Final

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Time to find some new narratives, folks!

Boston Bruins v Columbus Blue Jackets - Game Six Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Streamables from Chris tonight! If you don’t see them, it’s likely because you’re on mobile. Click the link in each description to view the highlight directly.

OHIO LEGEND Sean Kuraly gets the Bruins on the board in the first, except maybe he doesn’t...the goal is called back after a Columbus challenge. Still scoreless.

The Bruins have a 2-on-0 while shorthanded, and...it doesn’t go well. Still scoreless.

To quote Jack Edwards, “THIS ONE COUNTS!” David Krejci rifles a slapshot by Sergei Bobrovsky to make it 1-0 Bruins in the second.

Charlie McAvoy catches Josh Anderson up high late in the second. McAvoy was whistled for a 2-minute penalty; Anderson would return for the start of the third. Still 1-0 Bruins.

A criss-cross play pays dividends in the third, as Marcus Johansson snaps a wrist-shot on net that Sergei Bobrovsky simply can’t handle. 2-0 Bruins.

Jake DeBrusk wins a puck battle in the neutral zone, David Krejci does his thing, Torey Krug has his head up, and no one picks up David Backes. GOODNIGHT. 3-0 Bruins.

That’s all she wrote! Tuukka Rask finishes with a 39-save shutout, and the Bruins are heading to the Eastern Conference Final!

Game notes

  • This game was closer than the final score indicates, and Rask was the main difference. Rask made a number of giant saves, and while some will say he got bailed out by the posts, a post means you missed. Sorry.
  • It’s funny to think about, but: imagine if Rask allowed the goals Bobrovsky allowed in Games 5 and 6? The Krejci goal in 5 and Johansson goal tonight stand out. Bobrovsky is still elite, and made some sparklers in this series, but he had his share of blunders too. Aside from the Seth Jones goal in Game 5, Rask didn’t have any weird ones. That, ultimately, was the difference.
  • David Krejci continues to quietly be a playoff monster. He had a goal and an assist tonight, giving him 10 points in 13 games.
  • We covered the McAvoy hit in another post, so we won’t bother touching on it here. My bet is that he’s suspended for Game 1.
  • We talked a lot about the Bruins’ big guns letting them down earlier in this series, but Columbus got nothing from some of its biggest guns. Columbus’ top goal-scorers in the regular season, in order: Cam Atkinson, Artemi Panarin, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Josh Anderson, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Nick Foligno. Of those players, only Panarin and Dubois had goals in this series, and Dubois only had one. It was basically the Panarin and Matt Duchene show.
  • This is a tough break for Columbus, as it could be their only real kick at the can with this group. Panarin, Bobrovsky, Duchene, Dzingel, etc. are all likely to be on their way out of town. They have some young pieces in Dubois, Anderson, Seth Jones and Zach Werenski, but will have some holes to fill.
  • It was great to see David Backes get that third goal. It was almost a carbon copy of that stellar Bobrovsky save from late in Game 4, but this time, Backes’ tip found the back of the net. It’ll be interesting to see what Bruce Cassidy does against the young, fast Hurricanes, but it’s tough to see Backes coming out now.
  • No word yet on a schedule. If there’s a Game 6 in the Celtics series (doesn’t look likely, unfortunately), it would be on Friday night. My bet (complete speculation) is that the series starts Saturday night.
  • Not to get ahead of ourselves, but the Bruins are now the highest remaining seed in the entire playoffs, should they make it to the Final. Just saying.