It was that close. The Bruins beat the Senators 2-1 in overtime, when a Dennis Seidenberg point shot was tipped in past Robin Lehner by Patrice Bergeron. The puck barely trickled across the line, but was called a goal after review. Despite the loss, it was a well earned road point against the team that is probably the best roster top to bottom in the Eastern Conference.
The loss overshadows the great performance from Lehner, who made 44 saves to earn the Senators the point, while Tuukka Rask stopped 30 shots of his own, in a game that saw stretches of action surrounded by long stretches of relatively boring hockey, probably by design if you are the Senators. They would not have wanted to get into a run and gun match with the Bruins, and despite allowing 46 shots, it didn’t seem that way.
It was a feeling out process in the first period, as Boston outshot the Senators 11-5, despite Ottawa having 2 power plays to Boston’s one. There wasn’t much to speak of in terms of physical play or scoring chances in the snoozer of a 20 minutes, which might be just the way the Senators wanted it.
Things opened up a bit in the second, as Lehner made a nice pad save off Tyler Seguin. A defensive zone breakdown by the Senators led to Nathan Horton‘s tip/deflection that fooled Lehner just enough to let it slide between his legs for the icebreaker. Snakebit Kyle Turris was sent in alone by Marc Methot, but his shot was kicked out by Rask. On an Ottawa power play, Lehner made a diving poke-check to take a potential breakaway away from Chris Kelly. During the second of Ottawa’s back to back power plays, Kaspars Daugavins was sent on a breakaway pass by Patrick Wiercioch, but was stopped by Rask. The puck squirted behind the net, as did Daugavins, who threw the puck back out front into a crowd, where Zack Smith and then Jim O’Brien both had whacks at it and it finally went in, courtesy O’Brien.
Some chances for both teams early on in the third as Daniel Alfredsson whipped a rebound just wide, and David Krejci walked in alone from the corner and was stoned by Lehner. It turned into a very physical period with the likes of Eric Gryba, Milan Lucic and Shawn Thornton throwing their substantial weight around. Ottawa got a late power play for Lucic covering the puck with his hand, and that penalty carried into overtime as the teams finished deadlocked at 1 through 60 minutes.
In the overtime, while shorthanded, Kelly picked off a drop pass at the Bruins blue line and broke in on Lehner, but a backchecking Alfredsson cut his angle off. Wiercioch had a blast from just inside the blue line that trickled through Rask but just outside the post. Zibanejad stole the puck from Dougie Hamilton behind the Bruins net and fed Turris for a point-blank shot, but was turned away by Rask. Bergeron ended an exciting overtime game when his tip squeaked through Lehner and just millimeters over the line for the Bruins 2-1 victory.
- Turris is really struggling, goalless in 16 games and counting. He was removed from the top line and replaced by Peter Regin
- Since Erik Karlsson‘s injury, here is a list of Sens goal-scorers: Mika Zibanejad (2), Dave Dziurzynski (2), Colin Greening (2), Daniel Alfredsson, Erik Condra, Andre Benoit, Jim O’Brien, Jakob Silfverberg – 11 total goals, 6 from guys that have been a healthy scratch in the last two weeks and 2 from a guy who had never scored and NHL goal before. Its time for Zack Smith, Chris Neil, Turris and Gonchar to chip in some. If it is going to be a team effort, then everyone needs to contribute.
- Ottawa goalies can’t seem to do anything wrong, as they have had back to back 44 save performances that have stolen 3 points for the Senators. Its not easy with the injured players out, but increased ice time should mean increased production for some players.
SENSHOT’S PLAYER OF THE GAME
In his first NHL start of the season, Robin Lehner showed why he is considered a blue chip prospect and proved that the hype is worth it. The goals that went past him were an excuse-me deflection from the slot and a tip-in that he got 90% of. He looked poised and cool as a cucumber in net and served notice that he is indeed ready for the NHL challenge. Alas, he will be ticketed back to Binghamton as soon as Craig Anderson is ready, which could be as soon as this weekend.
The Senators move on to Philadelphia to face the up and down Flyers. It is an early puck drop on Saturday, at 12:00. It is the first of a back to back, as they will face the Islanders on Saturday afternoon.