Final: Boston 5, Ottawa 3
Recap: The B’s fell behind in the blink of an eye as Erik Karlsson’s goal at the 1:10 mark staked Ottawa to a 1-0 lead. It didn’t take long for the Black and Gold to turn things around, as Patrice Bergeron cleaned up a rebound and sent it past Alex Auld to make it 1-1. Brad Marchand tallied on a wrister from the top of the circle with 3:47 to go, giving the B’s a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission.
Carter Camper scored the lone goal of the middle frame, backhanding home his first career strike to put the Bruins up 3-1. After outshooting Ottawa 16-6 in the second, Boston came out strong in the third and got a power-play goal at 10:24 from David Krejci to go ahead 4-1.
The game seemed to be in the bag until Daniel Alfredsson gave the Sens life, tallying twice in the span of 1:37 to get Ottawa within a goal with 2:08 to go. Thankfully the Bruins dodged a major bullet, as Bergeron buried his second of the night from long distance into an empty net to close out the scoring in a 5-3 win.
Records: Boston 37-20-3, 77 points; Ottawa 32-23-8, 72 points
Key Play of the Game: While it seemed to be simply a lead-padding tally at the time, Krejci’s strike on the power play proved to be the game winner. Milan Lucic did a rock-solid job of tying up defenseman Matt Carkner in front. Their contact prevented Auld from getting in the correct position, therefore allowing Krejci all the net in the world to shoot at.
Connolly’s Commendations: Bergeron leads the way on the list of applause-worthy performances. No. 37 finished the night with two goals, an assist, a whopping nine (!) shots on goal and a 60 percent success rate on faceoffs. His line was simply money against a Sens defense that had no answer for them.
Hats off to Carter Camper, who took just three games to find the back of the net in the NHL. Zach Hamill is undoubtedly jealous right now.
It was another solid performance from the captain, as Chara had two helpers, an exciting bout with Chris Neil and six shots from the point.
Connolly’s Critiques: Don’t think Josh Hennessy’s tenure in Boston is going to last too long. The New England native hasn’t made any glaring mistakes, but his alarmingly low ice time – especially tonight at just 4:25 – indicates Claude Julien hasn’t seen a ton from the center.
It was a strange night for Tim Thomas. The veteran netminder started out looking shaky and didn’t appear ready for Karlsson’s shot that led to the first goal. In the third, Alfredsson’s first strike was a thing of beauty, but his second tally was from far too poor of angle to not think Thomas should’ve had it.
Notes: Johnny Boychuk left the game in the third after getting railroaded by Neil on what appeared to be a clean hit. Kyle Turris, usually a mild-mannered player, left his feet to make contact with Joe Corvo’s head just minutes later. Turris received a minor penalty but may be hearing from disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan. Tonight was Greg Campbell’s 500th career game. He finished minus-2.
Final Thoughts: This should’ve been the ultimate feel-good win for the Bruins, who controlled play for nearly the entirety of the tilt and were cruising to a comfortable win over the team closing in on them for first place in the dvision. But Boston’s play in the final minutes, which nearly resulted in a catastrophic collapse, certainly soured things.
Next: These two clubs will meet again on Tuesday, as the Bruins will finally return to TD Garden after six games on the road.