On Saturday night in Boston, the Columbus Blue Jackets capitalized on egregious turnovers to defeat the Bruins in a 3-2, double-overtime thriller.
The storylines coming out of the win are well chronicled. The Blue Jackets got world-class goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky, Seth Jones announced his arrival as a top-flight defenseman in primetime, and Artemi Panarin was fantastic, again. But one storyline that went under the radar in this game was how the Blue Jackets manufactured their goals.
On all three of their goals, the Bruins were victimized by a brutal turnover. And seconds later, the Blue Jackets made them pay in a big way.
Ironically, we profiled how the Boston Bruins defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs by forcing them into unwanted turnovers and capitalizing on the subsequent play. Live by the turnover, die by the turnover.
We broke down the three goals to show what the Blue Jackets did well - and in some cases, what the Bruins did poorly.
Panarin (Jones, Atkinson) 1:03 in the 2nd
At the 0:22 mark of this video, Duchene tries to force a pass across the zone to a waiting Nick Foligno, but it's picked off by Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. At 0:24, Chara sees Noel Acciari (#55) leave the zone, and he tries to loft a pass into the neutral zone.
That was a mistake.
Chara put zero mustard on this puck, and Cam Atkinson is able to intercept it easily (0:26). The Blue Jackets move the puck around the horn before Panarin cranks a one-timer for the goal.
Panarin (Jones) 8:01 in the 2nd
Let's set the stage. The Bruins were shorthanded, leading 2-1, when Josh Anderson took a four-minute high-sticking penalty. At the start of this video, you can hear the crowd at TD Garden cheering, knowing they have a huge opportunity to move this game to 3-1.
It's 4-on-4, meaning there's a ton of room out there. Off a defensive-zone face-off, Zach Werenski skates the puck from coast-to-coast, but loses the puck in a battle with Charlie McAvoy (#73) at the 0:23 mark. The puck goes to Game 1 hero Charlie Coyle (#13), who has plenty of time and space to make a play. With his back to the play, Coyle tries to make a slip pass to his defensemen in front of the net (Note: He made a similar, albeit successful, play that led to his OT game-winning goal in Game 1).
But defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (#48) doesn't stay in front of the net. At 0:24, he starts to skate behind the net. That's a problem for Coyle.
Instead, the puck goes to Jones, who baits Grzelcyk into thinking he's shooting the puck. Jones slides the puck to Panarin, who snipes a world-class shot.
Duchene (Panarin, Atkinson) 3:42 in OT2
This turnover is far less egregious than either of the first two goals, but nonetheless, the Bruins had a chance to clear the puck on a penalty kill and failed to do so.
At the 0:19 mark, Sean Kuraly makes a great play to tie up Panarin in the corner. At 0:20, he even wins the puck. But at 0:21, he slides the puck on the ice in a clearing attempt. Jones is there to pick it off, and 20 seconds later, Matt Duchene scores his first ever Stanley Cup Playoffs overtime goal.
It's a tough play for Kuraly. For one, Panarin is draped all over him in an attempt to prevent the penalty killer from clearing it. And from Kuraly's perspective, you're just hoping that puck finds a way out of the zone. For those who don't play hockey, it takes a split second longer to lift the puck than it does to simply pass the puck. In a moment of panic for Kuraly, that split second probably prohibited him from launching the puck down the ice.
The Bruins, one of the best defensive teams in the NHL, and a team that dines out on opposing teams' turnovers, got a taste of their own medicine in Game 2. For Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, the message will be for his team to clean up the mistakes. For Columbus, the focus will be on continuing to force the Bruins into turnovers. Like in other sports, the team that wins the turnover margin often comes away with the win. In Game 2, that held true in a big way.
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