Bruins rally twice from two-goal deficits for 6-3 victory in opener

Bruins rally twice from two-goal deficits for 6-3 victory in opener

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- It certainly didn’t start well for the Bruins, but they showed resiliency, a little fight and a line pieced together because of the Patrice Bergeron injury that thoroughly dominated the proceedings.

The forward line of Brad Marchand, David Backes and David Pastrnak absurdly accounted for all six of Boston’s goals on the evening, and allowed the Black and Gold to engineer a come-from-behind 6-3 win over the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The game-winner was a thing of beauty midway through the third period with David Pastrnak freed for a partial breakaway while getting slashed by a Columbus Blue Jackets defender trailing the play.

Pastrnak still managed to squeeze off a good shot that caused a rebound, and the always clutch Brad Marchand fired it home for his first goal of the season for the game-winner. It was the high point in a five point, two-goal evening for the Bruins agitator, a two-goal night for Backes in his first go-round in a Bruins uniform and a statement game from 20-year-old Pastrnak that he’s ready to totally bust out this season.

The Bruins started off slowly in the first period with a soft goal allowed by Tuukka Rask on a Alexander Wennberg wrist shot from just inside the blue line, and then a power play strike from Cam Atkinson as Brandon Carlo scrambled to cut off the middle of the net-front area. The Bruins fought back in the second period with the Pastrnak score, but again sagged when Seth Jones fired home a goal after Carlo failed to clear the puck from the D-zone given a couple of tries at it.

The B’s veteran picked up the rookie in his NHL debut, however, and Backes scored the final two goals of the period camped out in front to tie things up leading to Marchand’s clutch heroics in the final 20 minutes of hockey.

Pastrnak iced the game in the closing minutes with an empty net goal after David Krejci dove to block a shot that hit him in the head area, and then the right wing sped off the other way for the empty net score. 

Banged-up Bruins lose two more -- Rick Nash, McQuaid

Banged-up Bruins lose two more -- Rick Nash, McQuaid

BOSTON – It’s another day and another injured player, or two, for the Boston Bruins.

Veteran right winger Rick Nash was a late scratch for the Bruins on Monday night against the Blue Jackets after getting banged up in last weekend’s win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid had to exit due to injury in the third period of Monday night’s 5-4 overtime loss at TD Garden.  

“[Nash] got hit in Tampa, so we thought he was fine. He had an upper-body injury,” said Bruce Cassidy. “This morning, pregame skate, we thought he’d be fine, and it turned out after pregame skate, early afternoon, he wasn’t. So, you know, we had to make a call for Anton Blidh.”

The Nash absence forced the Bruins to recall Blidh from Providence on emergency recall and plug him into the lineup not using him in the last couple of road games in Florida, and it also pushed 21-year-old rookie Ryan Donato into a top-6 role alongside David Krejci in his NHL debut. Clearly things worked out for Donato with a 1-goal, 3-point performance in his first NHL game, and that along with some quality organizational depth is helping them withstand some of the injuries.

McQuaid was held to just 10:42 of ice time that was the fewest among all Bruins D-men on Monday night, but it was unclear exactly what befell him on the ice injury-wise.  

It is getting a little ridiculous for a Bruins team that’s missing Patrice Bergeron (fractured right foot), Zdeno Chara (upper body), Jake DeBrusk (upper body), Charlie McAvoy (sprained left MCL), David Backes (right leg laceration) and now may have to go without Nash (upper body) and McQuaid (undisclosed) as well. Clearly it’s something the Bruins will have to play through for the time being while simply hoping that it all conveniently clears up ahead of the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

“You know, you call a player up [from the AHL], right? We signed one out of college; that helped. So, that’s it. [The injuries] are uncontrollable to a certain extent. It’s kind of enough, now. I would agree. We’ve had our share, so let’s get these guys healthy and get ready to play,” said Cassidy. “I don’t know. You’ve got to play the game in front of you and you just hope the string of, kind of, tough luck, is over.

“That’s it. It’s a physical game. We’ve said all along, to have successful seasons, both regular and playoffs, you need a certain level of health. That’s what we’re hoping, that these guys come back, and that’s it. Until then, we plug the holes and play the game in front of you.”

Plugging those holes will continue to get more and more challenging if the Bruins keep losing players from their lineup on a nightly basis as they may have on Monday with both Nash and McQuaid now banged up as well.


NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Donato impresses in NHL debut

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Donato impresses in NHL debut

1:13 - Joe Haggerty joins from the TD Garden to discuss the non-call on Brad Marchand’s breakaway, Ryan Donato shining in his NHL debut, and when Patrice Bergeron could be returning.

6:16 - Gary Tanguay, Mike Giardi, and Trenni Kusnierek debate if the Patriots are starting to replace the talent they’ve lost this offseason as they have acquired Adrian Clayborn, Jeremy Hill, and Jason McCourty. 

11:01 - A. Sherrod Blakely joins Boston Sports Tonight to talk about the Celtics continuing to struggle as the injuries have piled up.