Boston Bruins goalie Niklas Svedberg figured it had to be great television after Alex Khokhlachev ended the cliffhanger with a dramatic flourish.
Khokhlachev scored the winner in the seventh round of a shootout in his second NHL game, leading the Bruins over the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 Friday night.
“It must have been a good game to watch for all of our fans,” said Svedberg, who had 25 saves and then stopped all seven Blue Jackets he faced in the shootout. “It was a fun game.
Khokhlachev was called up from American Hockey League Providence on Thursday to add insurance up the middle for the Bruins.
“I was happy when I got called up,” said the club’s second pick (40th overall) in the 2011 draft. “They just told me, `You need to fly to Columbus.’ They didn’t tell me if I would play or not until right at the end. It was really a good feeling.”
After Svedberg stopped the seventh Blue Jacket in the shootout, Matt Calvert, that set the table for Khokhlachev.
“Well, I just stick-handled, (made) a couple of fakes and just went five hole,” he said.
The Bruins got three goals in the third period to overcome a 2-0 deficit, then hung on after Columbus pulled even on Jack Johnson’s goal with 7:13 left in regulation.
“That was a good comeback win, knowing we’re down two goals going into the third,” said coach Claude Julien. “To be able to get that short-lived 3-2 lead was a good sign from this hockey club.”
Dennis Seidenberg scored on a 78-foot shot from the neutral zone and Matt Fraser and Daniel Paille also scored for Boston. Matt Bartkowski, an Ohio State product, had two assists for the Bruins.
Sergei Bobrovsky had stopped the Bruins’ first 23 shots, some with stellar plays. But shortly after making three saves on a Boston power play, he surrendered a softie early in the third period.
Seidenberg was two strides over the center line when he fired the puck on net — measured at 78 feet — and it somehow slid between Bobrovsky’s leg pads to make it 2-1.
The Bruins then pulled even at the 9:33 mark. Patrice Bergeron settled a bouncing puck and passed to Bartkowski, whose hard shot from the right point was redirected by Fraser for the tying goal.
Just over a minute later, Paille netted his first of the season. He pounced on a loose puck in the high slot, spun and wristed it in for a 3-2 lead with 8:28 remaining in regulation.
The Blue Jackets, who had also been getting prime scoring chances all night, came right back to even things.
It was revealed earlier this week that Johnson has declared bankruptcy after his parents squandered millions of his earnings. Playing his first game since the news broke, he stepped into a shot at the left dot with 7:13 left in the third to tie it.
Ryan Johansen had a goal and two assists, Nick Foligno scored and had an assist and Bobrovsky had 38 saves for the Blue Jackets.
“To take a 2-0 lead into the third period and come away with one point, it feels like a loss,” said coach Todd Richards. “I’m disappointed we didn’t get the extra point, but (the players) were doing a lot of good things — better things.”
NOTES: Jordan Leopold’s assist was his first point since being traded to the Blue Jackets. … Bruins C David Krejci was a surprising scratch. No reason was given. … Boston was already without Ds Zdeno Chara (knee), Adam McQuaid (broken thumb) and David Warsofsky (groin), each out for at least a month and LW Brad Marchand (undisclosed injury, day-to-day). … Columbus is missing six top players in an injury-marred season.