Connauton helps lead Blue Jackets over Bruins 6-2
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Kevin Connauton has found a home on the Columbus blue line.
He had a goal and two assists and the Blue Jackets scored four times in the second period for a 6-2 win against the Boston Bruins on Saturday night.
Connauton has four goals and three assists in 14 games since being claimed off waivers on Nov. 18 from the Dallas Stars. He had two assists in eight games for the Stars in spot duty.
He’s now taking regular shifts for the Blue Jackets (15-16-3).
“There’s more confidence shooting the puck and making plays,” he said. “It’s a matter of an opportunity where I’m playing a lot and building confidence and as a result I’m having success.”
Connauton assisted on the first two Columbus goals by Scott Hartnell. Then Connauton made it 3-1 at 6:32 of the second period on a long shot that goaltender Niklas Svedberg could not pick up.
“I lost sight of it just before he shot it,” Svedberg said. “You’ve got to work hard to find the puck as a goalie. I couldn’t find it. It’s on me. It’s unfortunate. It was an important goal.”
After Connauton’s goal, Nick Foligno made it 4-1 before Craig Cunningham scored for the Bruins (18-15-3). Matt Calvert regained the three-goal lead with 51 seconds left in the second.
Jeremy Morin added a goal for Columbus in the third.
“We had a lot of mistakes tonight, defense mistakes; not boxing out, screening our goaltender,” Boston coach Claude Julien said.
Patrice Bergeron scored in the first period for the Bruins, 20 seconds after Hartnell had given the Blue Jackets (15-16-3) a 1-0 advantage.
Hartnell missed the previous five games with a broken finger and was unsure how he would play in his return since had never suffered a hand or finger injury before
“I was a little nervous, getting whacked, battling in corners. Things like that,” he said, “I’m going to spend most of the time in front of the net. That’s what I did on those two goals.”
Columbus backup goalie Curtis McElhinney made 26 saves in place of Sergei Bobrovsky, who did not play because of a stomach virus.
“It was certainly unexpected but it’s one of those opportunities that when it presents itself you want to take advantage of it,” McElhinney said. “Anytime you get the goal support it helps take the pressure off the goalie. That was nice to see.”
Hartnell said that was the least the Blue Jackets could do for McElhinney, who improved to 2-6-1 this season.
“We owed (McElhinney) a big effort,” Hartnell said. “At the beginning of the year we hung him out to dry a lot of times.
“We did all the little things well tonight. We blocked shots. We stayed out of the box for the most part and we were able to finish and get a lead early and not look back.”
Svedberg stopped 12 of 15 shots before being pulled for Tuukka Rask, who also had 12 saves.
Columbus goalie Anton Forsberg was on emergency recall from Springfield of the American Hockey League and did not count against the 23-man roster. Columbus forward Cam Atkinson left the game in the first period with an upper body injury after being checked by Matt Bartkowski and did not return. The Bruins had won seven straight vs. the Blue Jackets since a 3-2 loss in Boston on Jan. 21, 2010. Boston had four consecutive wins in Columbus since a 2-0 loss on March 10, 2009. Columbus killed all three Boston power plays to run their successful penalty kill streak to 23.