After pulling out the win in the second overtime of Game 5 in Ottawa, the Boston Bruins returned to TD Garden for Game 6 against the Ottawa Senators. Having gone down three games after winning the first, the Bruins were now in a situation where they had to win every game. They managed to win in Game 5, but they still needed two more to advance to the second round of playoffs.
The first ten minutes of the opening period of Game 6 saw the Bruins denying the Senators any chances on net, but it seemed once Ottawa did get their first shot on goal it opened a floodgate because Ottawa was soon outshooting the Bruins as they had in other games. And the penalties the Bruins took in the first period definitely did not help them at all—three delay of game penalties as Sean Kuraly, Joe Morrow and Colin Miller sent the puck over the glass, plus Kuraly got a roughing penalty later in the period. Despite all of that, the Bruins went into the first intermission with the only goal scored in the first twenty, a power play goal by Drew Stafford who had been acquired at the trade deadline.
The second period saw the Senators capitalize on their fifth power play of the game, this time as rookie Charlie McAvoy sat for a tripping call, deflected in off the stick of Bobby Ryan who had been consistently impressive with the points throughout the series. Kyle Turris would get the Senators up 2-1 five minutes later. For the Bruins, though they did manage to outshoot Ottawa in that middle frame, their play looked sloppier and they were not as aggressive as they had been earlier in the game.
The second period slump had been an Achilles heel for the team throughout much of the regular season, as it had been last season as well. For some unknown reason the Bruins do not seem to be as cohesive or as motivated during the middle twenty. This is not to say that the players on the ice aren’t motivated—it is simply the impression they radiate to those watching the game. The turnovers increase and tape-to-tape passes are not as crisp or more often are nonexistent.
As the puck dropped on the third period, with Boston down a goal, it was going to be essential that they score the next goal to have a chance at the win. Assistant captain Patrice Bergeron, hanging around the net, put in a garbage goal, off a rebound from Craig Anderson, to tie the game at 1:57 of the period. The Bruins had ramped up their intensity limiting Ottawa to a mere three shots on goal while they continued to send a barrage of shots on Anderson—12 in that period.
At the end of regulation with the score tied at two it was clear that once again overtime would be necessary to determine a winner in this series.
As the goalies switched ends, it would mean that the Bruins would find themselves in the same scenario as they are in during the second period of home games. And like those second periods, this overtime would see their play change. They were without a single shot on net through the first 5;54 of the period, which is when David Pastrnak was whistled for a holding penalty and again the Senators would get a power play in overtime. Thirty-six seconds into the man advantage Clarke MacArthur scored the game-winning goal for the Senators and ended the Bruins playoff run.
The Senators now go on to play the New York Rangers in the second round of playoffs and the Bruins are left to assess their individual play while management assesses the team and makes some decisions.
Though the Bruins did not go far into the playoffs, they did make the playoffs for the first time in three seasons. Coming in as the interim head coach in February, Bruce Cassidy’s team was not looking destined for playoff action, so much can be said to what he accomplished in such a short time. He stated he definitely wants to remain as the coach, and many of the players commented to a similar desire of wanting him back as head coach next season. Now all that remains is the waiting to see if management feels he has earned a shot.