Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy, left, smiles after his goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Boston on Monday
BOSTON (AP) — Led by their young players, the Boston Bruins put up their highest scoring game of the season.
Rookie Jake DeBrusk set up second-period power-play goals by David Backes and fellow rookie Charlie McAvoy and added a goal of his own, Tuukka Rask stopped 16 shots to keep up his hot stretch, and the Bruins beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-2 on Monday night.
Brad Marchand, Danton Heinen, Torey Krug and Patrice Bergeron also scored for the Bruins, who halted a two-game skid. Rask improved to 6-0-1 in his last seven starts. McAvoy also had an assist and his first career NHL fight.
“It was an opportunity for them to show their abilities and their talents,” Backes said of the young players. “They didn’t disappoint one bit.”
Josh Anderson and Seth Jones scored, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 38 saves — including a penalty shot by Tim Schaller — for the Blue Jackets.
“We have to take it right on the chin like we did tonight and try to get better for the next game. That’s all we can do,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said. “Right through our lineup we weren’t good. Obviously, this is the result.”
Columbus lost for the third in four games and was dominated in the first two periods when they fell into a 3-0 hole.
Leading 1-0 in the second, DeBrusk made his two very nice cross-ice passes, helping the Bruins converted on consecutive power plays just over five minutes apart.
On the first, DeBrusk skated deep down the left wing and sent a pass across to Backes, who one-timed a shot into the net.
DeBrusk then set up McAvoy’s goal with a pass across the slot from the bottom of the right circle. McAvoy one-timed it into the net before Bobrovsky could get to the other side of the crease.
“It’s fun hockey. It’s nice to see those guys finish,” DeBrusk said. “It’s nice to find those seems and nice that we converted as well. The more seems you find, the more chances you’ll get.”
The Bruins owned a 28-14 edge in shots on goal after two periods, dictating play for most of the game. Columbus had just one shot on goal by a forward in the opening period.
Anderson converted a feed from Alexander Wennberg 8:32 into the third, but Heinen scored to seal it. Boston then scored three more.
“In the third period we fell apart,” Anderson said. “I don’t know what happened.”
Rask made a solid pad stop on Cam Atkinson’s partial breakaway with the Bruins on a power play early in the second.
Marchand made it 1-0 when he one-timed a drop pass from Bergeron inside the right post for his 14th goal with 5:12 left in the first.
Earlier in the period, Schaller missed a wide-open net when he hit the left post on a rebound with Bobrovsky out of position.
NOTES: McAvoy also got into a fight in the third period. Injured Bruins D Adam McQuaid watched the replay on a TV in the press box, smiled and said: “He just needs an assist now,” referring to a Gordie Howe hat trick of a goal, assist and a fight. … Marchand has at least a point in a career-high nine straight games after missing his previous six with an injury. … Boston C David Krejci was sidelined with an upper body injury and wasn’t expected to travel to Buffalo. … Columbus LW Markus Hannikainen was back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch the previous three games. … The teams face each other one more time this regular season — on March 19 in Boston. The Bruins lost the only other meeting; 4-3 in a shootout in Columbus on Oct. 30.
Blue Jackets: Host the Maple Leafs on Wednesday in the teams’ first meeting this season.
Bruins: Travel to Buffalo and face the Sabres on Tuesday. They lost 5-4 in overtime at home on Oct. 21 in the only other matchup this season.