This was one of those games where you have to play all 60 minutes. Both teams found this out the hard way. For Ottawa, they came in and really took it to the Bruins early. With the game barely eight minutes old, the Senators had a 2-0 lead on goals by their captain, Daniel Alfredsson and first year Sen, Milan Michalek. I guess the Sens must have thought it was going to be an easy night at the office. Ottawa coach, Cory Clouston, “We got off to a real good start…almost too good too soon. Sort of got very lethargic in that middle frame. Thought for the last part of the second period and for a good portion of the first and third we were okay, but we didn’t do enough good things. We didn’t break out as units like we have been. We didn’t fore-check very well. We just didn’t play our game consistently enough.”
Tim Thomas played his first game since the Pittsburgh overtime loss two weeks ago. He showed some rust early on the first two Ottawa goals. The first one by Alfredsson, he was beaten by a wrist shot on the blocker side. The second goal, it was Alfie doing the damage but setting up Michalek on the power play. Afterwards, Thomas described the second goal, “…the second goal, he [Alfredsson] just fooled me. He got me right when I was doing the turn from one side to the other and I think we were a little disorganized because Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] was out of the play basically.”
Once the Bruins were in the 2-0 hole, they started to wrestle control away from the visiting Senators.
After the first period was all said and done, they outshot the Sens 10-5.
To open the second period, the Bruins went on the power play just forty one seconds in. Before the penalty could be completely announced over the P.A. system, the Bruins were on the board. Dennis Wideman brought the puck up from his zone and passed to Mark Recchi on the left wing boards. Recchi hit a streaking David Krejci up the slot and he deked Brian Elliot and put a backhander past him. Eighteen seconds was all this power play needed and the early goal put the momentum on the Bruins side now.
Michael Ryder's power play goal midway through the game evened the contest. Assists went to Chara and Savard as Ryder took a Chara pass on the half wall, turned to the faceoff circle and ripped a wrist shot past Elliot.
After two periods, the B's were continuing to outshoot the Sens by a 19-13 margin.
The Senators final trip to the penalty box was painful for the visitors. With Alex Kovalev in the box, David Krejci and Blake Wheeler set up Dennis Wideman's blast from the blueline. Wideman hadn't scored in a while and he seemed more relieved than happy afterwards. “Yeah it’s been a long frustrating time since the last time one went in but you know it was something that we needed to do tonight, we needed to start shooting more on the power play so I just kind of threw that one at the net. Obviously a great screen by Rex [Mark Recchi] in front.”
With the Bruins now holding a lead, they continued the pressure and had opportunities to increase their lead. Marco Sturm had a couple chances on goal that went just wide. With the goalie pulled, Mark Recchi and Derek Morris combined for three chances to seal the game but each player missed the open net. When you have that many chances to bury an opponent and you fail to do so, you always seem to get bitten and tonight, the Bruins have teeth marks. With twenty five seconds to go and no goalie, the Senators called a timeout and set up their offense. They won the draw and Alex Picard passed to Milan Michalek down the left wing. Derek Morris picked him up and kept him wide. Michalek was at the bottom of the faceoff circle when he took an innocent wrist shot. Tim Thomas described the action as he saw it. “He came down the wing and went five-hole and I butterflied on my stick. I cost us the point. I felt terrible. I let the team down big time. I feel like they deserved the win with the effort that they put throughout the game. They deserved to win outright. So at the time, it’s one of the worst feelings I’ve had in like four years here with the Bruins.”
So here were the Bruins once again going to overtime for the eleventh time in twenty six games. Both teams played conservatively in the OT period setting up the shootout. The first three Bruins were stopped by Elliot or in David Krejci's case, the post. The first the Senators were stopped by Thomas who was still feeling bad about the late, soft goal he gave up. Claude Julien tapped Michael Ryder as the Bruins fourth shooter and he came down and beat Elliot, low to the glove side. It was up to Thomas to hold the lead. Mike Fisher deked Thomas and went with a backhand shot the Thomas stayed with and stuffed. He got up a pumped his stick – obviously happy that the team bailed him out from the late tying goal.
The Bruins special teams were very good tonight. The power play, which had been ranked as low as #29, went three for five and the penalty kill was a solid three for four.
With the win, the Bruins have jumped into first place in the Northeast Division.
The Bruins are off until Wednesday when Steve Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning come to town.
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Written by Jim Mulligan