Prior to Friday night's tilt with the Ottawa Senators, Boston Bruins' head coach Claude Julien stressed the importance of his team giving a solid effort in the first period of games. His team responded with a great first 19 minutes of play. Unfortunately for the B's, NHL games last 60 minutes, not nineteen.
The Bruins jumped out to a 2-0 with 9:50 left in the first period, but were held scoreless by Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson (5-5-2 on the season); while the Senators scored four unanswered goals to claim a 4-2 win in Ottawa. The loss was the first in the last five games for the Bruins, who just completed their longest homestand of the season, taking nine out of a possible ten points in those five games. The Senators bounced back from a 5-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night to pick up their eighth win (8-7-4) on the season.
The B's jumped out to their two goal lead with tallies from Loui Eriksson and Brad Marchand. Eriksson scored just past the six minute mark of the first period when he deflected defenseman Matt Bartkowski's slap shot past Anderson for his fourth goal of the season. It is the second straight game that Eriksson scored for Boston, both on deflections from slap shots by defensemen. Marchand added to Boston's early lead just four minutes later, beating Anderson glove side for his third goal of the year. Bartkowski and Eriksson assisted on Marchand's goal, giving both players a two-point first period for the Bruins. Those would be the only points of the night for Bruins' players.
Ottawa's Chris Neil started the scoring for the Senators with 50 seconds left in the first period, splitting the Bruins' lead in half to make it 2-1. Neil stole Torey Krug's pass in the Boston end, which was intended for fellow defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, and beat goalie Tuukka Rask over his left blocker. The goal was Neil's second of the season, and first since October 19th against the Oilers.
After a second period that saw both teams held scoreless, the Senators struck early in the third period to tie the game at 2-2. Ottawa captain Jason Spezza took a cross-ice pass from teammate Erik Karlsson and ripped a one-timer past Rask for his eighth goal of the year.
The Bruins thought they had taken a 3-2 lead with five minutes elapsed in the third period, when Carl Soderberg forced his own rebound past Anderson after several whacks at the puck. Video replay on the play showed that the whistle had blown and play was stopped just prior to Soderberg pushing it past the Ottawa netminder.
The Senators took advantage of the swing in momentum by scoring just thirty seconds later. Jared Cowen used traffic in front of the net to score from the blue line to make it 3-2. Bobby Ryan, who was acquired as a free agent from Anaheim in the offseason, capped the scoring for Ottawa with just over eight minutes remaining, going five-hole on Rask to make it 4-2. It was just the second time this season that Rask has given up four goals in a game, and the first since a 4-3 loss October 26th to the New Jersey Devils.
The Bruins will look to rebound from this loss on Monday night, when they face the Carolina Hurricanes. The loss keeps the Bruins three points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place in the Atlantic Division.