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Recap: Haula lifts Bruins to 5-2 win over Blue Jackets

Haula netted the go-ahead and game-winner with less than four minutes to go in the third period.

Columbus Blue Jackets v Boston Bruins Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

The Boston Bruins defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-2, tonight at the TD Garden as Erik Haula’s two-goal night helped lift his team to victory and break a tie late in the third period.

Haula now has four goals in his last four games and four multi-point nights in his last six games.

The Bruins had a strong first period where they dominated the offensive zone, but they couldn’t solve Columbus goaltender Elvis Merzlikins. The B’s second and third lines had the best looks on him and eventually Haula potted the go-ahead goal.

While the Bruins carried the play for most of the period - and outshot the Blue Jackets 15-5 in the frame - Columbus added a tying goal with 28 seconds remaining. Gustav Nyquist found Jeremy Swayman out of position and the game was tied after 20 minutes.

The Blue Jackets kicked off the second period with an goal just 42 seconds in from Justin Danforth. In a role reversal, the B’s went on the defensive as opportunities favored the Blue Jackets. Columbus capitalized on neutral-zone turnovers and sloppy stickwork.

The B’s started to get chances though. Nick Foligno and Curtis Lazar had a nice 2-on-1 and the second line had a sequence where Haula just missed a rebound out front. Merzilikins gave up some lengthy rebounds, but the Bruins weren’t getting to those second efforts.

As offensive-zone pressure grew, tic-tac-toe passing between Jake DeBrusk and Patrice Bergeron to Brad Marchand led to the equalizer with under two minutes in the second period.

The Bruins refocused for the third period and didn’t allow a Columbus shot on net until 14 minutes into the third as the defense was blocking shots and keeping the Blue Jackets to the outside.

The team got back to their game and pressured Columbus’ defense by crowding the slot and getting those needed rebound opportunities. The Bruins top six forwards had eight shots of their final 15 SOG, with Pastrnak firing three on net in the third period.

On the game’s second power-play on the night and only advantage for the Bruins, Haula redirected Brandon Carlo’s wrister for the lead with less than four minutes to go.

DeBrusk and Charlie Coyle cushioned the Bruins’ in the final two minutes with empty-net goals. Final score: 5-2 Bruins.

The B’s will now hit the road for a four-game trip. They open the road trip in Columbus as they complete the backend of their home-and-home with the Blue Jackets on Monday April 4 at 7 pm.

Here are the highlights!

First period:

The Bruins opened the scoring at 15:09 of the first period.

From the goal line, Hampus Lindholm found Charlie McAvoy pinched down in the slot where he put a backhander on Merzlikins. He made the initial save, but the rebound hit off Taylor Hall and to Haula at the top of the paint for a quick shot on net. 1-0 Bruins.

The Blue Jackets tied the game at 19:32 of the first period.

Swayman made the first save on Cole Sillinger. Nyquist found Swayman out of position to put the rebound in on an open net. 1-1 game.

Second period:

The Blue Jackets took the lead 42 seconds into the second period.

Along the right boards, Sean Kuraly sent a pass to Yegor Chinakhov. He found Danforth in the crease for a quick shot over Swayman’s right shoulder. 2-1 Blue Jackets.

The Bruins evened the game at 18:13 of the second period.

With some tic-tac-toe line passing, DeBrusk found Bergeron inside the right-wing circle where he fed a one-timed pass to Marchand where he had a wide-open net in the slot. 2-2 game.

Third period:

The Bruins took the lead at 16:06 of the third period on the power play.

At the top of the paint, Haula redirected Carlo’s shot past Merzlikins’ blocker. 3-2 Bruins.

The Bruins then added two empty-net goals to cap off the night.

The first came from DeBrusk at 18:00 of the third period to make it 4-2 Bruins.

Coyle netted the second one at 19:54 for a Final Score: 5-2 Bruins.