After an overall successful road trip, the Bruins returned to home ice for the first of their 3 in 4 weekend. With match ups against Tampa Bay on Saturday and Montreal on Sunday, the Bruins looked to keep themselves in the win column as they closed out February against the Ottawa Senators.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. It’s been Tuukka time between the pipes for Boston and despite the heavy workload Rask seems to be flourishing, getting the nod again Thursday evening. The Senators took a different approach putting recently recalled Robin Lehner in net. It was the battle of two hot teams, with the Bruins riding a 4 game win streak and Senators having taken their last 5.
The Senators have suffered excessive injury as of late and currently have found success with the call ups from their AHL affiliate based in Binghamton, NY. Defencemen Eric Gryba and previously mentioned Lehner were both AHL All Stars during last months festivities held in Providence, RI.
The first period held a slow start for both teams, with Boston unable to connect in their offensive zone. Senators were the first to hit the power play when Bruins Peverely was called for tripping at 6:54. Shortly thereafter Ottawa’s Dave Dziurzynski found himself in the penalty box for goaltender interference at 10:09. Both teams were unsuccessful on the power play respectively. Chris Bourque left the Bruins shorthanded again at 14:43 for a hooking penalty. Fans were left disappointed as the seconds ticked down and neither team found themselves with an opportunity to be the first on the board with the score remaining 0-0. Lehner was strong in net facing 11 shots, while Rask saw only 5.
With an uneventful first period behind them, both teams took to the ice to start the second period with a renewed sense of energy. The Bruins certainly had a more offensive push in the opening minutes of the second period. It was that push that put the Bruins on the board at 5:48 with a beautiful goal by Nathan Horton for his 7th of the season from Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic. The goal puts Horton just 9 points shy of his 400th NHL point. Ottawa continued on the penalty train as Sergi Gonchar gave Boston another opportunity at 8:59. The power play however was short lived as Chris Bourque took his second penalty of the night at 10:28 for interference. As the game of penalties continued, Boston was faulted with too many men on the ice at 12:42. The penalty allowed some room for the Senators’ as Jim O’Brien managed to put one past Rask at 14:38, effectively killing Boston’s streak of 27 power play kills.
With the score tied 1-1, the third period began as anyone’s game. With both teams skating with a spring to their stride the urge to end the game in regulation was felt all over the ice. Frustrations ran at heightened levels and the aggressive nature to win began to show as the period ran down. Ottawa’s Erik Condra took a tripping penalty at the 5:52 mark and Boston was unable to capitalize on their 3rd power play of the game.
In what has become a familiar event on home ice, the Bruins headed into overtime. Patrice Bergeron scored, with the goal quickly going to review but the final ruling gave Boston the win.
For Boston fans, March won’t come in like a lion, but more like a bear with the Bruins skating 8 home games this month.
Post game video from Bruins Chris Kelly and Tuukka Rask: