On a day in which the Dalai Lama was at the Garden sporting a Bruins hat, it was Matt Fraser who would receive total consciousness.
A last-second replacement for the scratched David Krejci, Fraser scored twice in the second period, including the eventual game-winner, to lead the Bruins to a 4-2 win and to above .500 for the first time since the second game of the season.
Fraser collected a "skate onto it" pass from Carl Soderberg inside the Ottawa blue line and, with just one touch, ripped a laser over the left shoulder of Robin Lehner, who barely moved. It was a lethal release from a guy gaining quite a reputation around the team for his shot.
Fraser looked to be headed to Level 9 until minutes before the game: Krejci took warm-ups, looked like he was ready to go and then...wasn't. The team released no updates on Krejci's condition, but his fill-in performed admirably.
"You just go out there and shut your brain off and try to play," said Fraser on his mentality.
Fraser was a guy who many had pegged to be a season-long scoring threat, but he struggled early on and ended up falling out of the lineup. Frustration was there, of course, but he stayed positive.
"One thing I've drawn on, I was never drafted. I had to climb walls to get where I am," said Fraser. "The end goal has never changed for me. It's not to just be here, but to be an impact player."
While he didn't seize his chance early on, his coach thought he certainly grabbed it by the throat tonight.
"We all know he struggled out of the gate," said head coach Claude Julien. "But he certainly didn’t miss his opportunity tonight."
Fraser was aided by strong play from his linemates Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson: Eriksson's turnover led directly to Fraser's first strike, while Soderberg's second assist set up Fraser's second goal.
The Bruins took this one over in the middle frame, outscoring the Sens 2-0 and creating far more high-end scoring chances.
"I thought that their competition level continued to rise throughout the game, and ours wavered," said Ottawa head coach Paul MacLean. "It was off and on, and I think that ends up being a huge difference in the game."
Dennis Seidenberg added some insurance for the B's early in the third, skating onto a loose puck and rifling it past Lehner from inside the right point. The goal was the first for Seidenberg in nearly a calendar year.
"I did have quite a few shots lately," said Seidenberg. "But for it to finally go in, it feels good. Hopefully that’s not the last one."
The Bruins got the scoring started when Brad Marchand beat Lehner off of a faceoff 18:54 into the first period. The goal was Marchand's third in two games; throw in the assist he earned in the Buffalo game and Marchand is looking at a 3-1-4 line over the last two games. Is he feeling it?
"I think those are just a couple breaks that have gone my way," said Marchand. "Still I don’t think I played a great game tonight, but something to build off of and it is finally nice to get on the board."
The B's gave the lead back just seconds later, when Seidenberg got caught up with a linesman, leading to an Ottawa 2-on-1 that was buried by Mark Stone. The linesman would later apologize to Seidenberg for getting in the way.
"He didn’t know where to go and he kind of messed me up and it ended up in a bad break," said Seidenberg. "Stuff like that happens and thank God we didn’t let it affect our game and we kept going."
The Bruins did keep going, to above .500 (finally). The team currently sits at 7-6-0, and has won two games in a row and five of the last seven.
The B's are back in action on Tuesday night when the Florida Panthers visit town.