What an up-and-down game... the Bruins played awful through the first 40 minutes, but found life with ten minutes left in the game. The highlight was Brad Marchand scoring his 30th goal of the season, becoming the 8th Bruin to score 30 or more goals in consecutive seasons. He and Patrice Bergeron scored, and David Pastrnak showed us maximum effort.
From the opening faceoff, the Bruins were chasing the puck, and the Senators were able to set up in the B’s end. Derick Brassard retrieved a rebound, circled to the point, and snuck a shot through a few screens 1:21 into the game. 1-0, Senators.
The B’s came back hitting, and Frank Vatrano buried Sens D-man Chris Wideman in the corner; it looked like a rough landing but he popped right back up. Fellow defenseman Dion Phaneuf fired a point shot that was tipped in front by Pageau, to put the Senators up 2 less than five minutes into the game. 2-0, Senators.
The Bruins, though in full scramble mode, manage to sneak a few shots through on Andersen, but he’s up to the task. Bergeron, Marchand and David Backes all had a chance at a shot and rebounds in front, but they shot for the same spot - Craig Andersen’s chest - and Andersen closed the door. The line gets two more chances on their next shift, but still had nothing to show for it.
Brandon Carlo, characteristic of the Bruins as a whole this period, was not on top of loose pucks. The 4th line added some forecheck, keeping the puck behind Andersen for better than half their shift - a welcome change. In the second half of the period, the Bruins began trailing the puck and couldn’t get a clean breakout, let alone exit their own zone cleanly. The puck was hopping all over the place, not just on the Bruins; Ottawa, however, was just more effective at settling the bounces.
With the top line humming, Marchand made life tough on Pageau and Cody Ceci, who was forced to send a chip up the boards. Krug got a piece of a centering pass, and as it floated into the high slot, Bergeron collected it, wheeling and firing the puck past Andersen to score the B’s first goal of the game with just over a minute and a half left in the period. 2-1, Senators.
The period ended with a rerun - the Bruins chasing the puck In their own zone. Thankfully, the horn would sound on the first without more damage.
The Bruins iced the puck to start this one. Pastrnak made a great move around Erik Karlsson, but couldn’t tuck the puck around Andersen on a strong defensive play by Ottawa. Kevan Miller and Ryan Dzingel mixed it up in front of Tuukka after a stoppage, but no fisticuffs just yet.
Rask made a huge save off a loose puck that trickled to a Senator in the low slot. On the next rush, he thwarted another attempt from nearly the same spot. Pastrnak nearly had another rush but Karlsson catches him and forced him out.
This game began to get much more physical with five minutes played, with hip checks from Schaller and Marchand upending a couple Sens. The third icing of the period by the Bruins pinned the Bergeron line for a moment, but Bergeron won a board battle to get the puck deep and nearly swung another hail-mary shot through Andersen. Pastrnak is making Ottawa look silly tonight with dekes, just hasn’t been able to settle the puck on the other side of his move.
Drew Stafford was called for a holding penalty Behind the B’s net, and Ottawa held the first unit of penalty killers in the zone for more than a minute, while Chara took a slash behind the play. Ottawa would build on their zone time as the penalty expired, and fortunately Rask was able to freeze the puck.
Krejci’s line got stuck deep again; of the trio, only Pastrnak has looked dangerous so far. The passes from Cehlarik and Krejci aren’t connecting to the speedy winger. The line gets pinned deep, so Chara is forced to ice the puck, and the line is stuck out there for another minute. Cehlarik ices the puck again, so Cassidy is forced to use his timeout. Pastrnak finally broke free and fired a shot on Andersen from center ice to get the line change.
Marchand got tangled with Pageau behind Tuukka’s net with under 30 seconds to go in the period, and they’d get sent off for matching minors, resulting in 4-on-4 for the rest of the period and the beginning of the third. No Senators goals during the
Coming back to 4-on-4 play, Chara was paired with Colin Miller to try and spark a bit of offense. No luck. Returning to 5-on-5, Cassidy shuffled lines to put Pastrnak back on the top unit with Marcheron, sliding Stafford up to play on Krejci’s right side opposite Cehlarik, and Backes in Stafford’s RW spot on the third line. Pastrnak took an uncharacteristic high-sticking penalty out of frustration, and Ottawa capitalized immediately, with Erik Karlsson sending the puck rinkwide to winger Mike Hoffman at the opposite point. 3-1, Sens.
About a minute later, Stalberg interfered with Spooner following a dump-in, putting the Bruins on the power play. The Bruins would fire right back, with a long shot by Pastrnak getting saved by Andersen, the rebound tumbling to Marchand’s feet for the chip-in. 3-2, Sens.
The Bruins woke up out of their slumber with just over ten minutes to go, with another net-front tip by Stafford that went wide and more strong cycle to follow.
While the Bergeron line would continue buzzing, and finally some successful board play by the Krejci line, the B’s just couldn’t capitalize on a handful of rebounds in the last few minutes. With Rask pulled, Ottawa’s Alexandre Burrows - of ALL Senators to do this to us - put the nail in the coffin. 4-2, final score.
- Bergeron’s 17th and Marchand’s 30th goals just continue to show who runs this team offensively. When the team was stalling in the second period, needing that tying goal, Pastrnak should’ve joined them immediately. Coach Bruce Cassidy can balance his lines all he wants, but when he needs a goal, he should know where to turn.
- Where was David Krejci tonight? He still has flashes of brilliance, but he spent time trying to sneak around and carry the puck, and when Ottawa took away his time and space, he coughed the puck up, and having a rookie winger didn’t help. Ottawa had their number all night, and their only saving grace was the threat of a Pastrnak breakaway.
- The Bruins play Ottawa twice more this season, including the second-to-last game of the season. The B’s need to recapture the magic from the first week under Cassidy, and fast.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs play the Detroit Red Wings tomorrow; Detroit is likely out, but Toronto still sits just four points back of Boston. C’mon, Wings!