The Boston Bruins split the first two games with the Columbus Blue Jackets at the TD Garden. Both games required extra time. Both games ended with 3-2 scores.
The Blue Jackets had 8 days off between sweeping one of the best regular season teams in history. The Bruins had just one after defeating Toronto in 7 games.
The long layoff would make it hard for the Blue Jackets to respond on the road in game 1. However, Columbus came close to doing that taking a 2-1 lead in the third period. The Blue Jackets however could not handle the Bruins late surge as Charlie Coyle tied the game, and then scored the winner minutes into OT.
For game 2, the opposite effect was in place. The Bruins fatigue finally set in after playing every other night for the ninth straight time. A sloppy four minute power-play ended up in Artemi Panarin’s second of the night to kill the B’s 2-1 lead in the second. Then as the game went on the Bruins lack of energy became a little bit more apparent.
The Bruins did a good job of not bowing down throughout overtime getting their fair share of chances. In Double OT, it became too much as Patrice Bergeron committed a tripping penalty and Columbus's Matt Duchene put one in the back of the net. The fact that it was Bergeron who committed it tells me all I needed to know. This team was exhausted and exhausted teams make stupid mistakes like that. Even their leader.
The series being tied 1-1 after two games always felt like the way it would it be due to scheduling. Maybe we did not forsee both going to overtime or the closeness of the games, but here we are. Game 1 being the “Columbus has no legs game” because they have not played in 8 days. And game 2 being the ‘Bruins have no legs game’ because they have played 9 games in 18 days.
As the series marches to Columbus for game three, all order should be restored. Look at this series as a best of five. The two days off in between games is much needed for the Bruins. Their best players have been silent and the break could be what they needed to get back on the horse.
These games in Columbus, with other factors now out the window, will allow the Bruins to take a stranglehold on the series. I believe they are the superior team, and now the somewhat rested B's will be able to show that off.