Resilient B’s Fight Back In Shootout Win Over Senators
Well, you’ve heard it a thousand times before, but it’s not how you start; it’s how you finish. And after allowing two first-period goals to the Senators on Monday, including one in the opening minute, the Bruins called a timeout, regrouped and came out of Scotiabank Place with two huge points thanks to the shootout winner from David Krejci in the fourth round.
Something had to give north of the border as Boston, the best road team in the league, took on the best home team in the Sens. It did not look good early on as multiple Boston mistakes contributed to two Ottawa goals, but a big save by Tuukka Rask later on in the period helped minimize the damage after Claude Julien effectively used his timeout 7:18 into the game following the second Ottawa goal.
Trailing 2-0 late in the first, it was the energy line that got the Bruins back within reach as Shawn Thornton willed in a goal from a tough angle with just 44 seconds to play in the period before another member tied it up in the second.
Just after the Bruins had a two-on-one short-handed opportunity from Patrice Bergeron and Rich Peverley that nearly connected, the B’s killed off the rest of a Krejci slashing penalty. They had built some momentum with a couple of offensive chances on the penalty kill and that coupled with no Ottawa shots on goal turned the momentum in their favor.
With the teams returning to full strength and the puck deep in the Boston end, the Bruins made a change and the Merlot line hopped back on the ice. Krejci saw this and after coming very low to collect the puck just above the crease, he looked up and saw a lurking Daniel Paille way behind the Ottawa defensive pair.
Krejci saucered a long pass to the open forward, who began his breakaway closer to the red line than the blue. Paille beat Robin Lehner low blocker side with a wrist shot to tie things up at two. Taking advantage of the breakaway opportunity at that stage of the game, especially with the way the Bruins started, was huge. It was Krejci who made the perfect pass so that Paille didn’t have to break his stride and also Krejci’s questionable penalty that was killed off just seconds before. Taking advantage of the second-period change, Paille was already in the offensive zone when he came off the bench and he just took the pass and went.
“I just jumped on the ice there…I called for it and he passed it without hesitation,” said Paille on the game-tying goal. “I was just trying to react and see what was open. We definitely were slepeing at the beginning there and we finally decided to play after they scored two.” He added that it was definitely a confidence booster to be able to score in back-to-back games.
The goal at 8:53 of the second evened things up and ultimately forced overtime, but it was some careless and sluggish play that got the B’s in the early hole. Ottawa got on the board just 55 seconds into the game, benefitting from some of that sloppy play.
An Ottawa clearing pass bounced through the neutral zone and instead of making sure to corral the puck, Adam McQuaid just kind of swatted at it and it got through him. The misplay allowed Guillaume Latendresse to scoop up the puck as he blew by the Bruins defenseman and sped in on Rask all alone. He faked the forehand shot to get Rask to commit and then made a nice forehand-to-backhand move across the slot before shoveling in the backhand to give the Senators the early 1-0 lead. Sergei Gonchar and Chris Phillips picked up the assists on Latendresse’s first goal since Dec. 13, 2011 and the earliest goal the Bruins have allowed this season (55 seconds).
It would take more poor play and a timeout before the Bruins caught up to the speed of the game on the second day of Daylight Savings Time. Ottawa’s speed, pressure and back checking led to their second goal of the contest just six minutes later. The forechecking of the Senators prevented the Bruins from being able to get the puck out of their zone and Kyle Turris capitalized with his fifth of the year.
Krejci couldn’t find anyone to move the puck to and Johnny Boychuk thought it would be a good idea to just pin it against the side boards instead of taking the space that appeared to be available to him. Nathan Horton then fell victim to some of that quick closing pressure Ottawa was applying and couldn’t make a clean pass. Turris took advantage of the turnover and beat Rask with scorching wrister high to his glove side.
Just 7:18 into the game and the Bruins found themselves down 2-0 to the best home team in the league due to extremely poor fundamental play and three turnovers that led to both goals for the Sens. Ottawa was up 2-0 and had fired nine shots on goal before the Bruins even got one.
“Obviously we didn’t start well, but as the period went on we were better and better,” said Zdeno Chara of the start to the game. Julien called his timeout and after lighting a fire under his troops, they began their comeback bid.
Desperately needing the next goal and with time running out in the period, Julien send the fourth line out to try to spark a late push. They put some pressure on the Sens in their end and, following the original shot from Gregory Campbell, Paille got another shot in the crease before a defender cleared it to the corner. The puck found its way to Thornton, who just simply got it to the net and it squeaked through Lehner to get the B’s on the board with 44 seconds left in the first.
“I won’t ask for anything more than that. I was happy it went in,” Thornton joked after the game. Before that, however, Rask robbed Colin Greening on a two-one-one with just Milan Lucic back defending after Dennis Seidenberg got knocked down in the offensive zone and was unable to recover. The left-to-right blocker save was instrumental in keeping the game within striking distance for Boston.
Though they cut the Ottawa lead in half, the Bruins suffered a potentially big loss less than a minute into the second when Chris Kelly banged knees with Chris Neil, a former teammate. Kelly spun around before hitting the ice writhing in pain. He stayed down for a few minutes before he was helped off the ice by Chara and Bergeron. He did not return, but the Bruins’ penalty kill did not falter, as they have now killed off 16 straight. Kelly will travel with the team to Pittsburgh and be evaluated Tuesday.
The Paille goal kept the game tied until the final minute of regulation and Rask stopped Zack Smith‘s bid with under 25 seconds remaining. The B’s showed a strong fight to hold on for the point, but were after the second one in the extra session.
“[The third] was our best 20 of the game,” said Chara. “It was nice to win the game.”
The solid play continued in overtime as the defense held when Ottawa put some pressure on while time was winding down. Peverley made a diving play to poke the puck away and prevent one Senators’ rush from starting in the second consecutive overtime game played between these two teams. A little luck arrived when a centering pass hopped over the stick of an open Ottawa player in the slot and Rask came up big in the final seconds after Campbell collided with Chara and the B’s couldn’t clear the puck.
The game headed to a shootout and the Sens elected to shoot first. Jakob Silfverberg shot way wide to open the first round and then Lehner made a pad save on Tyler Seguin. Turris then hesitated and beat Rask low to the blocker side with a wrister, but Bergeron answered as he came in wide from the left and found daylight between the legs of Lehner to improve to 18-for-56 in shootouts for his career.
Daniel Alfredsson, who was 0-for-4 in shootouts on the year was up next for the Sens and fell to 0-for-5 as Rask appeared to get a piece of his backhand attempt. Lehener then stopped Brad Marchand, who had been a perfect 2-for-2 in shootouts in his career with both goals coming this season.
Then, something nobody expected happened. Ottawa’s fourth shooter, Kaspars Daugavins, trapped the puck under the tip of his stick and came all the way in on Rask with it like that (sorry if my explanation is not very clear, but I don’t think there is a name for this). Just before reaching Rask, Daugavins pirouetted and tried to shovel a backhand inside the left post, but Rask extended his long leg and was able to get a piece of it to give the B’s a chance to win. This video may be helpful. You have to give Rask credit for sticking with him because had he not, the move would have worked perfectly.
Krejci then took his turn and sent the many Bruins fans in attendance happy as he beat Lehner with a deke and then a top-shelf wrister to the glove side. He got the Ottawa goalie down and then roofed it over him to pick up the extra point for his team as they improved to 17-3-3 and moved within one point of idle Montreal for first place in the Eastern Conference.
Rask finished with 30 saves and improved to 11-8 in shootouts for his career. Lehner made 33 saves and has never been victorious in a shootout (0-2).
And it’s still true. It’s not how you start, but how you finish.
“We just seemed to get a little better as the game went on. It wasn’t a pretty game, I’ll be the first to admit that,” Julien said after the game. “Our guys found a way to win and we needed this.” He added that the timely timeout he took in the first was “just to tell our guys to wake up; everything was slow pace” and he was trying to do something to give his team a lift.
The Bruins won their 10th consecutive game in the city of Ottawa, outscoring the Sens, 33-14, in the span. Their last loss in Canada’s capital came on April 7, 2009. They improved to a league-best 9-1-2 on the road.
“I think we could have been a lot better,” said Thornton, “but I’ll take the two points.” No. 22 also shared his admiration for the “courage” that Daugavins showed with his shootout move. Boston’s fourth line finished a collective plus-5 on the night.
“We got to give them credit. They just put pucks at the net. They’re working hard, they’re turning the corner,” said Julien of his fourth line’s play. “You need that kind of performance from those guys.” Paille recorded a goal in back-to-back games for the first time since Dec. 14 and 17 of last season when he knocked in two against the Sens and then one against the Flyers three days later. The Bruins’ last two opponents? The Flyers and the Senators.
Both Thornton and Campbell played their most minutes of the season, due in large part to the injury to Kelly. Thornton has points in consecutive games for the first time since Nov. 1 and 5 last season against – you guessed it – the Senators and then the Maple Leafs. That’s the taking the pressure off the top two lines thing that the Bruins have been talking about in the last week or so.
The Senators fell to 9-2-2 this season when scoring first and the B’s improved to 10-1-2 when tied or trailing after two. With the two points tonight, Boston is off to its best road start ever. Their 20 points through their first 12 road games are two more than they had in the 1929-30 season after winning their first Stanley Cup.
In a night of milestones for the Bruins, Chara appeared in his 500th game in Black and Gold, Krejci appeared in his 400th NHL game (all with the Bruins) and Julien tied Milt Schmidt for the second-most wins in team history with his 245th. Rask also improved to 4-0-0 with a 1.52 goals against average and .952 save percentage in his career against the Senators.
The three stars of the game were Krejci, Phillips (two assists) and Paille.
With their 36th and 37th points of the season, the Bruins moved back within one point of the idle Canadiens in the Northeast Division. They take on the second-place team in the East, the Penguins, tonight in Pittsburgh.
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