Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson stymied the Bruins yet again, as he made 28 saves to pick up his fourth win against Boston this season as the Senators defeated the B’s 2-1 in a shootout.
Tuukka Rask made 25 saves for Boston, who came into the game riding a six-game winning streak and had clinched their first postseason berth in three seasons with a win on Tuesday night. The Senators clinched a berth by earning a point, and pulled ahead of Boston in the standings with the extra point in the victory.
Drew Stafford had the only goal for the Bruins, who came into the game shorthanded and lost a key player early in the contest. Brad Marchand was out due to his two-game suspension after an ugly spearing incident against Tampa Bay on Tuesday, while Torey Krug left the game after just three shifts with a lower-body injury.
The Bruins’ potent power play unit struck yet again on their first opportunity, with captain Zdeno Chara showing off his quick hands to keep the puck in the attacking zone. Ottawa defenseman Ben Harpur attempted to clear the puck, but Chara intercepted the pass just inside the blue line and quickly shuffled it down to Stafford. Stafford took the puck around the back of the net and tucked it past a sprawling Anderson for his eighth goal of the season.
Stafford now has four goals in 17 games with the Bruins this season after scoring just four times in 40 appearances with the Jets prior to the deadline day deal. Chara has six goals and 12 assists in his last 28 games, with a +22 rating during that stretch.
The Senators tied the game at 1-1 during the middle portion of the second period, as Adam McQuaid’s clearing attempt through the middle of the Bruins’ zone was picked off by Alexandre Burrows. Burrows unleashed a quick snap shot from the blue line that beat Rask with some traffic in front for the equalizer.
The two division rivals amped up the nastiness soon afterwards, with Dominic Moore and Tommy Wingels engaging in a brief scuffle that sent both players to the penalty box for roughing. During the subsequent 4-on-4, the B’s had a breakaway attempt by David Pastrnak denied by Anderson, as he closed up the five-hole to prevent Pastrnak’s chance at his 35thgoal of the season.
The B’s had to fight off two penalties during the third period, as the Senators continued their strong play over the last 40 minutes of regulation. The highlight of the final period for Boston was the huge hit McQuaid laid on Viktor Stalberg with less than nine minutes remaining. Stalberg attempted to take the puck down the boards into the Boston zone but was crushed by McQuaid on a clean body hit. Stalberg laid face down on the ice for several seconds before skating off under his own power. He returned to the ice during the overtime period.
Stafford came up empty in the first round of the shootout, and Kyle Turris gave the Senators the lead with a bullet through the five-hole. Ryan Spooner was also denied by Anderson, then Rask came up with a great pad save on Derick Brassard. Pastrnak was stopped by Anderson to end the shootout and give the Senators the pivotal extra point.
The loss puts the Bruins (44-30-7) one point behind Ottawa (43-27-10) and two points ahead of Toronto – who were playing Tampa Bay on Thursday night – in the crowded Atlantic Division standings. Both Ottawa and Toronto have two games remaining on their schedules, while the B’s close out their regular season with an afternoon matchup on Saturday against their potential first-round opponent, the Washington Capitals. The Caps just clinched their second consecutive President’s Trophy for most points in the NHL, and will face the second Wild Card in the first round of the playoffs. Puck drop in the nation’s capital is at 3pm.
If you want MORE coverage of your team, check out Bruins Beat Podcast here on CLNS Radio! The latest episode is below and check us out on ITUNES as well!