The new-look Ottawa Senators hosted the new-look Boston Bruins Friday night in a game that featured two Northeast division rivals who have been very busy on the trade front in the last week. New faces abound, as former Senator Chris Kelly and Tomas Kaberle were making their Bruins debut, along with the first appearance in a Sens uniform for callups Colin Greening, Andre Benoit and Francis Lessard. Newly acquired goaltender Craig Anderson arrived during the first period and dressed as the backup to Robin Lehner. Tukka Rask got the start for the second straight night for the Bruins, giving Tim Thomas a chance to get some well needed rest.
The first period started out much as you might expect , considering it must have felt like a pre-season game with all the new faces. There was little in the way of scoring chances, as Ottawa didn’t have a good chance until more than 9 minutes in, and Boston went almost 10 minutes without a shot on goal at one point. The goaltenders stood their ground and the first period finished in a scoreless tie.
The Senators broke the ice in the second period as Bobby Butler found the net for the third consecutive game, assisted by Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek, at the 2:50 mark. Brad Marchand evened the score about 4 minutes later, from Tyler Seguin and Andrew Ference. The Bruins took the play to the Senators after that point, but were unable to put another one past a solid Robin Lehner. The teams headed to the dressing room tied once again, this time 1-1 after 40 minutes.
Boston opened the third period on the power play but a Mark Recchi tripping penalty canceled that out after 30 seconds. The lack of intensity was obvious for much of the period, but Boston took the lead moments before the midway point of the period as Nathan Horton fired a wrister past Lehner, on a play that appeared (to the team and commentators) to be offside at the Senator blue line. A power play for Ottawa created a couple of chances, but Shannon took a penalty of his own right after the power play expired. The Bruins capitalized on the man advantage when Denis Seidenberg wired a one-timer past Lehner, who really had no chance on the play. With the Bruins up by two, the overmatched Senators threw in the towel. Marchand scored his 2nd of the night to give the Bruins a 3 goal cushion. The “K”s combined to get the Senators within 2, as Alex Kovalev tipped in a feed from Filip Kuba with 90 seconds remaining, but the Senators could get no closer. Final score, Boston 4, Ottawa 2.
THE UP SIDE
Robin Lehner‘s game showed progress and he played well for 2 1/2 periods, in what is hopefully his last start in the NHL for some time. With Anderson on board and Leclaire close to returning, he can be returned to Binghamton for the proper seasoning that he needs to develop properly.
Jason Spezza and Bobby Butler continue to demonstrate some chemistry on the ice and continue to put up points, and creating numerous great chances.
THE DOWN SIDE
The team as a whole lacked and kind of desire or intensity for most of the game. This is not a good sign considering the rookies in the lineup that wanted to make a statement.
THE THREE STARS
3rd Star – Brad Marchand, BOS: A pair of goals for the hot rookie, giving him 18 on the season, and is now getting some Calder Trophy mention.
2nd Star – Andrew Ference, BOS: Unheralded member of the Bruins’ blue line notched 2 assists, was +2, with 3 shots on goal and 3 blocked shots.
1st Star – Tuuka Rask, BOS: Showed that he can still be an elite goalie and is ready to re-assume the throne when Tim Thomas is ready to give it up. Made 32 saves on 34 shots.
Watching Tyler Seguin go through some struggles this season for the Bruins just goes to show that there are indeed tough times ahead for the Senators. Even if they keep both first round picks, you cannot rush most 18 year old players to the NHL. For every Taylor Hall or Steven Stamkos there are a dozen Tyler Seguins, players rushed into the league before they were ready. Patience will be a virtue, something this city and its fans are not really known for.
Ottawa will not have much time to regroup as they will be on the ice again tomorrow night against another divisional rival, the hated Toronto Maple Leafs.
Be sure to check Senshot tomorrow for coverage of the game and any other breaking Senators news.
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