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RECAP: Bruins struggle in the neutral zone, fall to Senators 3-1

Chara isn't the sole reason for this loss. The defense couldn't compensate and their zone exits suffered.

The tying goal goes in, and deflates the Bruins in their losing effort.
The tying goal goes in, and deflates the Bruins in their losing effort.
Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

This game started off with good intentions - a team parallel to the Bruins in the standings with a strong goalie but shuffled forward lines and uncertain offensive prowess. One would hope that even a defense without captain and top defenseman Zdeno Chara could push back enough to slow down the Senators' forwards. With the return of David Pastrnak, the Bruins offense seemed potent enough to overpower Ottawa's scoring.

Did you watch the game? Rank the Bruins' players.

First Period

It was evident that the Bruins were struggling to clear their zone from early in this game. Passes weren't connecting, and with the defense constantly on their heels, Ottawa was able to hold an offensive zone time advantage. Fortunately for the Bruins, the offensive energy that Ottawa sustained was negated by a late penalty to Chris Neil and the Bruins capitalized, owning the final minute of the frame and scoring off some great awareness by His Carbiness David Pastrnak.

Second Period

If you noticed the lugnuts wiggling a little bit in the first period, you saw the wheels come off in the second. There was significant pressure from Ottawa immediately and it showed first in tenacious faceoff wins by Turris, Pageau and Brassard. The shots that were landing on Senators goalie Craig Anderson were easily handled and, while registering some early shots on the scoresheet, none were a serious challenge for the netminder. Meanwhile, Ottawa began countering with continued pressure and it worked.  A great lead pass from Mike Hoffman to Mark Stone tied the game.

Fortunately, this game was tied going into the second intermission.

Third Period

The frustration mounted for the Bruins, manifesting in an early penalty from Ryan Spooner and some panicked clearing attempts by the Bruins defense. In a collapsing scramble in front of Tuukka Rask, defenseman Torey Krug tried to clear a loose puck and it landed right in Chris Wideman's wheelhouse.

This would put the Senators ahead for good, as Kyle Turris followed with another strike at the halfway point of the third, putting this game out of reach for the backsliding Bruins.

It's hard not to fault the defense for this, because there were wide open passing lanes for the Senators to play with. The forwards did string together some strong offensive zone time, but it was for a shift or two at the most, without truly applying sustained pressure. The real challenge was gaining the offensive zone - several offsides calls, for example, or a defender not getting enough on a pass - and it showed in the meager shot attempts by Boston. Couple that with a team-wide poor showing in the faceoff dot and the possession game was just plain weak.

On to Calgary, where there's some hope for a rebound win.