The Boston Bruins look to avoid a winless homestand when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday. The Bruins had won nine of 11 games before dropping a 5-3 contest against Washington on Thursday and a 3-2 overtime decision to the New York Rangers two days later.
“We certainly had opportunities to take advantage early, and we didn’t,” Boston coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters after Saturday’s setback. “Even in overtime, just lost control of pucks and lost our footing, and it took some good chances away.” Bruins leading scorer David Pastrnak brings a career high-tying 11-game point streak into the matchup with the Blue Jackets and teammate Brad Marchand has landed on the scoresheet in eight straight contests. Columbus built a 36-24 advantage in shots Saturday in Carolina but came away with its second loss in three contests, a 2-1 defeat on the first leg and a two-game road trip. “I don’t think we really got to it, as far as rebounds and getting to second opportunities,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella told reporters of his team, which has scored fewer than three goals in three of its last four contests. “To score goals, you’re going to have to score some ugly ones along the way.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Sportsnet, TVA, FSN Ohio (Columbus), NESN (Boston)
ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS (20-12-1): Oliver Bjorkstrand is warming up with a goal and five assists in his last three games and ranks second on the team with 22 points - six behind Artemi Panarin. Alexander Wennberg, who recorded a career-high 59 points in 2016-17, also is starting to increase his production with a pair of goals and two assists in his last five contests after managing one point in the previous 10 games. Columbus could take some pressure off with better play on the power play, which is last in the league at 9.67 percent.
ABOUT THE BRUINS (15-10-5): Pastrnak, who leads the team with 30 points, has collected five goals and eight assists during his point streak while Marchand has netted five tallies and set up seven others during his career-best run. Boston is getting healthier as Ryan Spooner returned Saturday from a four-game absence due to a lower-body injury, and defenseman Adam McQuaid (broken fibula) could be back Monday after missing two months. Tuukka Rask has allowed just 10 goals in his last seven games, going 5-1-1 after a slow start to the season.
1. The Blue Jackets earned a 4-3 shootout victory over the Bruins at home on Oct. 30 as Panarin and Bjorkstrand both scored in the bonus format.
2. Boston rookie C Danton Heinen (18 points) has recorded three goals and three assists in his last six games.
3. Columbus recalled D Cameron Gaunce and LW Sonny Milano from Cleveland while assigning LW Jordan Schroeder and D Gabriel Carlsson to the American Hockey League team on Sunday.
PREDICTION: Blue Jackets 4, Bruins 2