For this author’s attendance at his first career playoff game - either in fandom or for Stanley Cup of Chowder - the experience could have been better in only one way.
Game 5 hero Sean Kuraly comes out excited, and... immediately fires the puck over the glass, 17 seconds in. The delay of game strategy returns to Bruins hockey. With some early stagnant play, the Bruins iced the puck a handful of times in the first half of the period. They managed to pressure Ottawa in the latter portion and force a few icings the other way.
Rather than take more icing penalties, the Bruins decided to spend more time shorthanded, as Joe Morrow and Colin Miller took back-to-back delay of game penalties in with 7:30 and 4:50 to go, respectively. Not wanting to miss out on the fun, Ottawa took a tripping penalty just following their power play, and the Bruins returned the favor with some serious zone time.
With McAvoy cycling low carrying the puck, Stafford and Marchand cover the point, and as the puck circled back to Marchand, Stafford slid back to the circle on Craig Anderson’s left. Marchand faked a shot and passed the puck to Stafford who wound up, hesitated, and roofed a slapshot from in close over Anderson’s right shoulder for the power-play goal. 1-0, Bruins!
With just over a minute remaining in the period, Sean Kuraly took his second penalty of the period and draws a roughing from Ottawa defenseman Ben Harpur, sending the end of the first and the start of the second to 4-on-4.
Some good entries and decent shot opportunities for Marchand and Stafford, but they both flubbed their shots, and Stafford only managed to chip a side-of-net backhand on Anderson.
Charlie McAvoy took a penalty for colliding with Tommy Wingels, which from press level looked like hip contact, but that’s of course why the game is officiated on the ice and was called for a trip. Derick Brassard pulls his Drew Stafford impression and fires a slapshot from the top of the left circle, which is tipped in by Bobby Ryan for the power-play goal. 1-1 game.
Boston begins to crack the neutral zone, but D can’t step through the stacks of Ottawa players at blue line. Ottawa upped their forecheck and forced a turnover by Stafford; Dzingel chipped the puck to Turris entering the zone and he saunters into the slot, sniping a high wrister over Tuukka. 2-1, Senators.
The B’s breakout futility continued for the rest of the period, and though they did a better job of getting the puck deep, no possession time came from it. At least there were no more Delay of Game penalties!
Ottawa’s early icing gave the Bruins the opportunity to set up shop in the zone for nearly a full minute, and with some great cycle work below the goal line by all three forwards (Marchand, Bergeron, Pastrnak), the Bruins were able to get the puck high with Ottawa stuck down low. A long pass from Colin Miller landed perfectly on Marchand’s tape, and Brad fired a hard shot. Anderson struggled with the rebound, Patrice swatted at the puck for what seemed like a hundred times, and as the puck trickled past the right post, Bergeron pulled it back into the blue paint and buried it. 2-2, BRUINS!
The B’s benefited from another Ottawa icing, though no zone time off the faceoff; defensive pairs began to shuffle. Ottawa took a slashing call with 6:26 to go, but the B’s couldn’t capitalize. Another icing call on Ottawa with 4 minutes to go yields a bit more promise, but only for about twenty seconds of zone time. As the clock ticked past two minutes to play, the play settled in a bit with neither team wanting to risk losing late in regulation. In the final minute, Acciari nearly stepped around Karlsson for a partial break, but couldn’t reach his self-pass. The neutral zone ate the rest of this period, and for the fourth time in the series, the Bruins and Senators headed to sudden-death overtime.
Holy S#@% this was stressful. Ottawa continued the icing trend early, and for the first few minutes it looked like Boston might strike; three minutes in, and things started to settle down. This really looked like it would take another double OT. The Ottawa chances were close, but the Bruins were getting chances of their own, and eventually the teams would charge up their defense, eventually this would turn into a battle...
And then David Pastrnak took a holding penalty, against Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who absolutely skated in front of Pastrnak’s path but didn’t make an attempt to interfere with him. Pastrnak tried to sell the non-call, and ended up taking one of his own.
Ottawa would capitalize with two forwards stationed to either side of Tuukka Rask and the umbrella worked too well. 3-2, Senators, final score and series win.
- Three delay-of-game penalties in the first period were amazing...ly bad, and will go down in the record books as the first time a team has taken three in a period. (I think. I’m not a huge history buff.)
- Rookie D Charlie McAvoy started to look human in this game, with some scrambling plays and that penalty in the second. Still, the learning curve for this kid will be steep - really looking forward to his contributions next season.
- The rest of the Bruins’ D were stretched far too thin, especially the heavy-PK crew. Sky and Chris have the analysis.
- As I said at the opening of the article, though the loss stings, this really was an incredible experience and the atmosphere at TD Garden was electric. Can’t wait to see more playoff hockey next season. (There, I called it.)
- If you called out sick today to mourn the season, let us know in the comments. We’re all still dwelling on what might have been, and misery loves company. On a personal note, thank you all for reading - in my first season as a writer here, I really enjoyed your passion, the debates, and being a fan with you. Let’s do it again. GO BRUINS.