COLUMBUS, Ohio — Brad Marchand made sure the loss of star centre Patrice Bergeron to an injury this week wasn’t as painful as it could have been for the Boston Bruins.
Brad Marchand had two goals and three assists to match his career high with five points and the Bruins overcame a 2-0 first-period deficit to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-3 on Thursday night in the opener for both teams.
David Pastrnak had two goals and two assists, David Backes also scored twice and had an assist, and Tuukka Rask made 28 saves.
“I think the big thing about tonight we have to take away is the character we showed,” Marchand said. “It’s a lot of fun when you come back from 2-0 deficit and win.”
Backes, shifting to the first-line centre position to cover for Bergeron, scored both of his goals in a 3:36 span of in the second period to tie it at 3.
Bergeron is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. He didn’t make the trip to Columbus.
Backes’ steal in the third period led to a breakaway and Marchand’s put-back goal, and Marchand’s shot by goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made it 5-3 with 4:20 left. Pastrnak tapped in an empty-net goal in the last minute to complete the scoring.
“I felt our team played well even in the first period, and it was just a matter of getting ourselves back in the game and cleaning up some of those little issues that we had, and we did that,” Boston coach Claude Julien said. “I think we showed some resiliency, I think we showed some character and it was nice to see some guys step up here and find a way to win a hockey game.”
Rask didn’t allow another puck past him after Seth Jones’ goal from the slot 6:44 into the second period.
Alexander Wennberg and Cam Atkinson also scored for Columbus.
The Jackets scored with their first shot on goal 2:58 into the game by Wennberg. Atkinson made it 2-0 with a power-play goal with 2:52 left in the first period.
“We had a great start, and I think we just got uncomfortable,” Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno said. “They picked up their level of play, and we just kind of started to play into their hands. We didn’t elevate our game.”
Columbus is trying to avoid last season’s disastrous start in which it lost the first eight games. Coach Todd Richards lost his job after the first seven games, and John Tortorella was brought in but couldn’t right the ship. After the first period Thursday, it looked as if last year’s Blue Jackets were back.
“Tentative, sloppy, you can use a lot of different words,” Tortorella said. “I don’t have an answer for you. Obviously we have to find it.”
Twelve players of the 23 on the Blue Jackets’ roster are age 23 or younger. Rookie defenceman Zach Werenski is just 19. He’s playing on the No. 1 line with the 22-year-old Jones.
Bruins: Travel to Toronto to play the Maples Leafs Saturday night.
Blue Jackets: Stay home for a Saturday night game against San Jose.