Boston Bruins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 3rd 2023

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The Boston Bruins will look to post their third straight win and second in as many nights when the Columbus Blue Jackets make a Sunday night visit.

Last Monday’s 5-2 loss in Columbus marked the final game of Boston’s three-game losing streak, and wins over San Jose and Toronto have followed.

The Bruins began a back-to-back Saturday in Toronto, scoring a 4-3 win on captain Brad Marchand’s goal with eight seconds remaining in overtime. Marchand had gone without a goal in the previous eight games.

Though an Auston Matthews goal with six seconds left in the third period forced the extra session, Bruins coach Jim Montgomery was pleased with his team’s overall performance, including a higher pace of play and better defense.

“This was the best game we’ve played in a while, maybe two weeks,” Montgomery said. “Sometimes you need to face some hard times to realize it’s not always going to come easy.”

David Pastrnak led the way with a three-point night — scoring his team-high 14th goal of the season and adding two assists — and 10 shots on net.

As a team, Boston has generated 37 shots in back-to-back games and at least 30 in four straight after being held under the latter mark for three in a row.

After being a healthy scratch three times in seven games, defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk scored his first goal as a Bruin to give Boston a 2-0 lead at the time.

“I wasn’t playing aggressive enough offensively, and Monty conveyed that to me,” Shattenkirk said. “He trusts that I can see those lanes and plays ahead of time. It’s something he encourages us all to do as defensemen.”

Linus Ullmark (37 saves) was the Bruins’ last line of defense against the Leafs. Should Montgomery keep his near-even goaltending rotation going, Jeremy Swayman would be back in net on Sunday.

Columbus has won four of its past six games following a nine-game skid (0-7-2) after scoring four unanswered goals en route to Friday’s 4-2 victory over Ottawa.

The Blue Jackets’ first multi-goal comeback win of the season followed a 4-2 Wednesday loss to Montreal in which they surrendered the final three goals.

Adam Fantilli scored the winning goal in the second period against Ottawa, but Elvis Merzlikins (41 saves) was the star who helped make the comeback possible despite Columbus being outshot 43-23.

“We had a few things in place that we wanted to get better at, and the guys accepted the challenge,” Blue Jackets coach Pascal Vincent said. “We just stayed in the game. Without Elvis, I’m not sure we see the same final score, and that gave us a boost.”

The game saw the debut of a new all-Russian line featuring 2020 first-round pick Yegor Chinakhov at left wing, Dmitri Voronkov at center and Kirill Marchenko on the right.

Chinakov had scored in consecutive games before Friday, when Voronkov netted a game-tying goal.

“Scoring goals helps you have fun, and everybody wants to score,” Chinakhov said. “I want it too, but I need more. It gives you a little confidence, and you do feel better.”

Merzlikins has won three of his past five starts and posted 40-save performances in two of three.

“The organization saw a potential in him. He’s so talented,” Vincent said. “He’s a guy that’s intense. He’s emotionally involved in the game, and his hockey reads are really good. He competes hard. He’s a real good goalie.”

–Field Level Media

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