<
>

Takeaways from B's loss in Columbus

Needing a win to keep pace in the Eastern Conference wild-card race, the Boston Bruins fell on their face in a 6-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night at Nationwide Arena.

Having finished the first period tied at 1-1, the Blue Jackets scored three unanswered goals in the second period to put the Bruins in a deep hole. Starting goalie Niklas Svedberg was pulled after allowing the third goal -- the first hook of his young career. He finished his night with 12 saves on 15 shots faced.

Tuukka Rask wasn't any better in relief and also made 12 saves on 15 shots faced.

Activated off injured reserve earlier in the day, Blue Jackets winger Scott Hartnell scored his first of two goals on a rebound shot at 8:11 in the first. Twenty seconds later, the Bruins answered with Patrice Bergeron faking out Columbus goalie Curtis McElhinney (26 saves on 28 shots faced) before putting a shot past him to knot the score.

The Blue Jackets received three consecutive goals from Hartnell, Kevin Connauton and Nick Foligno in the second, with Foligno's coming on the power play. Bruins forward Craig Cunningham was able to break up the momentum with a goal redirected in front of the Columbus net, his second of the season.

Matt Calvert put the Blue Jackets up 5-2 with less than a minute remaining in the period with a controversial goal. The puck bounced out of play without being whistled, which led to play continuing as normal. Skating for nearly two minutes without interruption, Calvert eventually scored on Rask, and it stood without contention.

The NHL offered this explanation on the goal during the third period:

"The puck appeared to hit the spectator netting in the Columbus zone and play continued ... According to Rule 85.1, play shall be stopped when the puck hits the spectator netting, unless it goes unnoticed by the on-ice officials, in which case 'play shall continue as normal and resulting play with the puck shall be deemed a legitimate play.' Since play continued and the puck was not directed into the net as an immediate result of hitting the spectator netting, this is not a reviewable play, and the on-ice decision stands."

Regardless, the Bruins played one of their worst games of the season in the loss, which dropped them to 18-15-3 and kept them out of the playoff picture with 39 points. Columbus' sixth goal came courtesy of Jeremy Morin in the third period, as the Bruins ended the game with a lifeless final 20.

Hello again: To the surprise of no one, Bruins winger Milan Lucic and Blue Jackets defenseman Dalton Prout renewed acquaintances with a heavyweight bout in the second period. The most recent time these two teams met Nov. 21, Prout landed a punch on Lucic in the closing seconds of overtime, when Lucic hadn't even dropped his gloves or signaled he was looking to fight. A few days after the game, Lucic called the cheap shot "gutless," while practically guaranteeing he would get his revenge. The two were called for roughing penalties on each other in the first, before going toe-to-toe at 2:59 in the second. Each landed big blows before Lucic took Prout down to end the spirited fight.

Unlikely save: In a game in which both Bruins goalies looked less than sharp, top-line forward David Krejci came up with a huge save in the waning seconds of the first period. With the Blue Jackets applying pressure in the offensive zone, Svedberg gave up a juicy rebound on a shot that left the right side of the net open. Krejci sprawled out to cover the open area, blocked a Columbus second-chance shot and kept the score tied at the time.

Adding injury to insult? As if things couldn't get any worse, Bergeron left the ice in the third period with what appeared to be a minor injury and didn't return. Afterward, Julien said Bergeron's departure was precautionary.

Up next: The Bruins return to TD Garden on Monday for a three-game stand against the Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators. Things kick off Monday night against Detroit.