When the Ottawa Senators met the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden on Tuesday, there was a lot on the line for both clubs as they needed a win to maintain pace in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Due to the high stakes, both teams played hard from the drop of the puck and there was a lot of physical play between the two rivals.
At the conclusion of the third period, goaltending and special teams play proved to be the difference-makers.
The story of the first period for both clubs was unforced turnovers and poor discipline. As with most games the Senators play, the game got off to a slow start as the Bruins attempted to figure out their opponent’s neutral zone trap. Eventually, the Bruins were able to apply pressure on the Senators and controlled much of the play.
Although the Bruins appeared to have control of the game, the Senators were able to strike first just over four minutes into the frame. The goal came after a turnover by Bruins defenseman Colin Miller at the red line when he failed to get the puck deep, and the Senators were able to break into the Bruins’ zone. The puck eventually found Cody Ceci at the right point as he fired a shot that deflected off the skate of Tom Pyatt and past Tuukka Rask. Pyatt’s eighth of the season put the visitors up 1-0. Mike Hoffman also tallied an assist on the goal, extending his points streak to four games.
With 13:32 showing on the clock, the Senators received their first power play of the contest after David Backes tangled with Dion Phaneuf following a whistle, resulting in a roughing call. The Senators could not capitalize on the man-advantage and ended up being called for having too many men on the ice a little over halfway through the power play.
After a brief four-on-four, the Bruins went to work with their first power-play opportunity of the game. Fresh out of the penalty box, Backes intercepted a pass from Senators blueliner Erik Karlsson to set up a two-on-one break with Frank Vatrano. Vatrano was able to fire a shot towards the net, but Craig Anderson was able to make the save.
Following the save by Anderson, the Bruins worked the puck back to Ryan Spooner as he slowed the play down. Spooner’s patience paid off as he found David Krejci open at the top of the umbrella formation for a one-timer that beat Anderson low to the blocker side to tie the game at 1.
In the last five minutes of the frame, both clubs received power-play opportunities, but neither team was able to capitalize or generate any significant scoring chances. At the buzzer, the game was tied at one, and the Bruins led the Senators 8-5 on the shot board.
Poor discipline remained a theme early on in the second frame as Adam McQuaid was found guilty of tripping, sending the Senators to the power play just 1:02 in. On their third power play of the evening, the Senators were able to crack the Bruins’ stingy penalty kill when Kyle Turris fired a one-timer past Rask from the top of the left circle. Turris’ 24th goal of the season opened the visitors’ lead to 2-1 despite having just six shots on net.
The Bruins received a golden opportunity to tie the game when Pyatt was sent to the penalty box for hooking around the eight-minute mark. The Bruins were able to work the puck around the offensive zone but were not able to get anything past Anderson.
The power play appeared to warm Anderson up, as he continued to shut the Bruins down throughout the rest of the frame. He was able to make key stops on Brad Marchand, Noel Acciari, Drew Stafford and Spooner. Over the course of the period, the Bruins fired 18 shots on the Senators’ net but were not able to find the back of the cage.
With 42 seconds left in the period, Vatrano thought he ended his 10-game goal drought, but the goal was waived off. Vatrano initially fired a wrist shot on Anderson and then drove to the net for the rebound. It appeared Anderson had the puck tied up, but the puck squirted through his pads and into the net. Before the puck entered the net, the whistle had blown, negating the goal.
Due to a scrum at the conclusion of the second period, the Bruins started the final frame with a four-on-three power play. It did not take long for the Bruins to cash in on their second power-play goal of the game, as Torey Krug lit the lamp 17 seconds into the frame. Krug was able to skate through the Senators’ defense and beat Anderson with a wrist shot on the glove side. The goal tied the game at 2.
A little over a minute later, Dominic Moore was given a slashing penalty, putting the Senators back on the power play. The Senators did not capitalize on the man-advantage but were able to regain the lead shortly after Moore’s penalty expired. With Moore out of the box, the visitors retained control of the puck and had the Bruins running around their zone. Phaneuf sent a low wrist shot towards the stick of Turris, who was able to deflect the puck over the glove of Rask for his second tally of the contest.
For the majority of the third, the Senators were content to sit back and protect their one-goal lead. The Bruins were unable to provide any offensive pressure until a power play with 6:07 remaining on the clock sparked the home club. The Bruins controlled the puck for much of the man-advantage, running plays through Krug. They were able to get three shots on net, but Anderson turned them all away.
In the closing two minutes, the Bruins had the Senators pinned in their zone, but the Senators were able to keep the Bruins away from the dangerous scoring areas. The Bruins were not able to tie the game and fell 3-2 to their division rival.
OTT-Tom Pyatt (8) assisted by Cody Ceci (12) and Mike Hoffman (31)
BOS-David Krejci (21) (PPG) assisted by Ryan Spooner (26) and Torey Krug (41)
OTT-Kyle Turris (24) (PPG) assisted by Erik Karlsson (52) and Mike Hoffman (32)
BOS-Torey Krug (7) (PPG) unassisted
OTT-Kyle Turris (25) assisted by Dion Phaneuf (21) and Chris Wideman (12)
THW THREE STARS
First: Craig Anderson (34 saves on 36 shots)
Second: Kyle Turris (two goals)
Third: Erik Karlsson (one assist)
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Anthony Pagliarulo is a Boston Bruins contributor for The Hockey Writers. He is a Massachusetts native and a Worcester State University alumni. You can follow Anthony on Twitter @APags87.