Bruins’ youth too much for lifeless Blue Jackets
BOSTON — The third period was more than half over and Charlie McAvoy still needed an assist for a Gordie Howe Hat Trick — a goal, assist and a fight.
He got it at 12:30 of the period as he and other members of the Boston Bruins youth group were too much for the Columbus Blue Jackets to handle in a 7-2 rout on Monday night.
“Oh, man, it definitely wasn’t on the list,” McAvoy said. “I know that I try to play the game with a lot of passion ... and stuff like that’s going to happen.”
The fight was with Jackets rookie Pierre-Luc Dubois, the third pick in the 2016 draft — McAvoy was drafted the same year by the Bruins at No. 16.
“It happened really quick,” the defenseman said. “I felt like I was able to protect myself pretty well.
“I came from college hockey so there was no fighting. Nothing like that. But I knew that the way I play, I try and play hard, and I play on the physical side, sometimes you’re going to have to answer the bell I guess.”
Fellow Bruins rookies played key roles, as Danton Heinen and Jake DeBrusk both had a goal and two assists. Heinen has four goals and nine points in the last seven games.
Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Backes added a goal and an assist, each, and Torey Krug also scored for the Bruins, who snapped a two-game losing streak and finished 1-1-1 on a three-game homestand.
The Bruins scored four goals in a 6:20 span in the third period to reach a season-high for goals and take command of the game.
Heinen, Krug, Bergeron and DeBrusk scored late to complete the one-sided game. David Pastrnak assisted on the final goal, extending his points streak to a career-high 12 games and Ryan Spooner had two late assists.
Tuukka Rask was bidding for his second shutout of the season, but Blue Jackets forward Josh Anderson converted a pass from Alexander Wennberg and snapped the shutout 8:32 into the third period. Seth Jones made it 7-2 in the closing seconds.
Rask, who is 6-0-1 in his last seven starts, made just 16 saves.
Sergei Bobrovsky, making his eighth straight start, made 38 saves and got little help from his teammates, falling to 2-5-2 lifetime against the Bruins (16-10-5).
The Blue Jackets have allowed a season-worst seven goals in two of their last four games.
“This one’s inexcusable to me. There’s absolutely no reason for a game like tonight,” said Columbus captain Nick Foligno. “Especially, it’s 3-1 with 11 minutes to go. We hadn’t played great all night and we’re still in it.
“To have that many goals unanswered, just the lack of emotion, the lack of care ... we were careless with the puck. It’s almost like we were a deer caught in the headlights ... I’m at a loss for words, which doesn’t happen often.”
Marchand took a pass from Bergeron and scored his 14th goal of the season, extending his career-high points streak to nine straight games.
The Blue Jackets fell to 20-13-1 with their second straight and third loss in their last four games.
“We’ve got to keep our wits about ourselves and get better,” said Columbus coach John Tortorella. “We gotta put some skin on ourselves here, take it on the chin like we did tonight and try to get better for out next game. That’s all we can do ... right through our lineup we weren’t good and this is the result.”
NOTES: Columbus has allowed five power-play goals in the last four games. ... Bruins C David Krejci was a surprise no-show for warmups, then was declared out with an upper-body injury and will not travel to Buffalo for Tuesday night’s game — his 13th and 14th games missed this season because of what started as an upper back problem resulting from a slash. ... Boston D Adam McQuaid, out since Oct. 19 with a broken leg, is close to a return, which may come Tuesday night in Buffalo, when the Bruins will start Anton Khudobin in goal. He is 3-1-2 lifetime against the Sabres. ... The Blue Jackets host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.