NHL Nick's Net

Bruins lose three in-a-row for the first time this season

The Boston Bruins had a, 2-0, lead after the first period, but allowed the Ottawa Senators to score three unanswered goals after B’s goaltender, Linus Ullmark, left the game due to injury Thursday night at TD Garden.

Tim Stützle scored the game-winning power-play goal midway through the second period, while Anton Forsberg (19-16-3, 2.73 goals-against average, .919 save percentage in 41 games played) made 40 saves on 42 shots against in the victory for Ottawa.

Ullmark (23-10-2, 2.57 goals-against average, .913 save percentage in 38 games played) made eight saves on eight shots faced for Boston before being replaced by Jeremy Swayman (20-12-3, 2.38 goals-against average, .915 save percentage in 36 games played) after the first intermission.

Swayman stopped 21 out of 24 shots against in the loss for the Bruins.

After the game, B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, told reporters that Ullmark “didn’t feel well” after taking a shot off the face mask in the first period.

Prior to Thursday night, the Bruins were the only team across the National Hockey League that had yet to lose three consecutive games this season.

As a result of the loss, Boston dropped to 45-24-5 (95 points) overall, but remain in command of 4th place in the Atlantic Division, as well as the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference– though for the second game in-a-row, the B’s failed to clinch a playoff berth.

There’s not too much to worry about, however, given the long shot odds of the New York Islanders dethroning either the Bruins or the Washington Capitals for a wild card playoff berth.

With nine games remaining in New York’s schedule, the Islanders would need to win all nine games and hope for a colossal collapse of either the Capitals or Bruins in their remaining eight games.

Washington would have to amass no more than three points over the remainder of their schedule, while Boston would have to lose every game for the Isles to make the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

New York might have better odds playing the lottery or tuning into New York Rangers playoff games if they’re hoping to see some postseason action this spring.

Meanwhile, the Senators improved to 28-40-6 (62 points) on the season and remain in command of 7th place in the Atlantic Division.

Boston finished their regular season series against Ottawa with a 3-1-0 record in their four meetings.

The Bruins did not play the Senators in 2020-21 due to the temporarily realigned divisions and condensed 56-game schedule in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions.

The B’s went 2-1-0 against the Sens in 2019-20.

Jakub Zboril (right ACL), David Pastrnak (undisclosed) and Hampus Lindholm (lower body) were joined by Brandon Carlo (undisclosed) on Boston’s list of injured players out of the lineup against Ottawa on Thursday.

Jack Ahcan and Jesper Frödén were recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, prior to Thursday night’s action.

Meanwhile, Matt Grzelcyk returned to the lineup on defense and took part in his 300th career NHL game– suiting up in his regular role on the second pairing.

Cassidy made a few changes to his lines– inserting Frödén on the second line with Taylor Hall at left wing and Erik Haula at center, while promoting Tomáš Nosek to the third line in Trent Frederic’s usual spot.

Frederic served as a healthy scratch on Thursday, while Marc McLaughlin was demoted from the second line right wing to centering the fourth line with Nick Foligno and Curtis Lazar as his wings.

On defense, Mike Reilly was paired with Charlie McAvoy, while Grzelcyk and Josh Brown started the night out as Boston’s top-four defenders.

Derek Forbort and Connor Clifton served as the third pairing.

Frederic was joined by Jack Studnicka, Ahcan and Anton Blidh in the Bruins press box as healthy scratches against the Senators.

Early in the opening frame, Boston worked the puck deep into the zone whereby Foligno wrapped around the net and spun a backhand shot pass to the slot for McLaughlin (3) to redirect on the doorstep past Forsberg’s right pad.

Just like that, the Bruins had a, 1-0, lead at 6:36 of the first period, while Foligno (11) and Lazar (8) tallied the assists– marking Foligno’s 499th career NHL point in the process.

Less than a minute later, the Senators had too many skaters on the ice and presented the B’s with the first legal skater advantage of the night at 7:15, but Boston couldn’t convert on the ensuing power play.

Late in the period, Travis Hamonic elbowed Haula and was assessed a minor infraction at 15:20, but once again the Bruins failed to capitalize on the resulting power play.

Just as the final minute of the period was being announced, Grzelcyk corralled a loose puck at the point and kept the play in the attacking zone before sending a shot towards the net with traffic.

Frödén (1) deflected Grzelcyk’s bullet from the blue line and gave Boston a two-goal lead at 19:01 of the first period.

Grzelcyk (19) and Hall (39) had the assists as the Bruins took a, 2-0, lead into the first intermission.

Boston had a 2:1 advantage in shots on goal, outshooting the Sens, 16-8, in the first period, while leading in giveaways (6-2) and faceoff win percentage (71-29) as well.

Ottawa held the lead in takeaways (3-1) and hits (12-7) after one period, while both teams amassed two blocked shots each heading into the middle frame.

The Bruins were 0-for-2 on the power play and the Senators had yet to see time on the skater advantage.

Swayman replaced Ullmark for the start of the second period after Ullmark briefly skated over to the bench upon taking a shot off the mask in the first period and checked in with a trainer before returning to the crease.

Ullmark did not return to the game and was not seated on Boston’s bench for the rest of the night either– marking the fifth time in the last six games that someone left the action with an injury for the Bruins.

Less than a minute into the second period, Swayman was tested and gave up a goal when he apparently hadn’t covered enough of the short side as Brady Tkachuk (27) won a battle to the puck by knocking down McAvoy as the two skaters raced to the loose puck at the endboards prior to banking the rubber biscuit off of the Bruins netminder and into the twine.

Stützle (31) had the only assist on Tkachuk’s goal as the Sens trailed, 2-1, 47 seconds into the middle frame.

Less than a minute later, Boston had too many skaters on the ice and had been assessed a bench minor as a result.

McLaughlin skated over to the sin bin to serve the infraction at 1:22 and the Bruins managed to kill off Ottawa’s power play without issue.

The same could not be said for their next two penalties as Reilly caught Tkachuk with a high stick at 8:39 and Patrice Bergeron went to the box for hooking at 8:46 of the second period.

The Senators had a 5-on-3 advantage for a little less than two full minutes and they put Boston through the ringer as a result.

First, Drake Batherson fed Josh Norris (33) through the slot for a one-timer from inside the circle to Swayman’s left side– tying the game, 2-2, in the process on Norris’ power-play goal.

Batherson (25) and Stützle (32) tallied the assists at 9:30 of the middle frame.

Less than a minute later, the Bruins struggled to get the puck out of their own zone before Stützle again factored on the play– dishing the puck back to the point prior to the Senators sending it in towards the goal line to establish a traingle setup in the offensive zone.

Tkachuk fired a shot that rebounded as Stützle (18) collected the garbage while crashing the slot– giving Ottawa their second power-play goal as a result.

Stützle factored into all three Senators goals with a goal and two assists in Thursday night’s effort, while Tkachuk (31) picked up the assist on Stützle’s game-winning goal as the Sens grabbed a, 3-2, lead at 10:27 of the second period and held onto it for the rest of the night.

Batherson served a hooking penalty at 13:45 of the middle frame, but the Boston failed to get another shot past Forsberg as the power play came and went without issue for Ottawa’s penalty kill.

Late in the period, Brad Marchand tripped Connor Brown and cut a rut to the box, though the Senators failed to convert on the power play at 17:56.

Through 40 minutes of play, Ottawa had a, 3-2, lead on the scoreboard, despite trailing Boston in total shots on goal, 24-23.

The Sens, however, had a, 15-8, advantage in shots on net in the second period alone.

Ottawa also led in blocked shots (7-6), takeaways (6-3) and hits (20-17) after two periods, while the Bruins led in giveaways (9-5) and faceoff win% (61-40).

Heading into the final frame, the Senators were 2-for-4 on the power play, while the B’s were 0-for-3 on the skater advantage.

Colin White tripped Craig Smith to give Boston a power play at 5:24 of the third period, but the Bruins couldn’t convert on the advantage in keeping with the theme of the night.

Lazar was assessed a roughing minor for trying to engage Parker Kelly in an exchange of fisticuffs after Kelly made a big hit in the neutral zone, but the Senators ended up on the power play instead at 9:15 of the third period.

Ottawa failed to capitalize on their second-to-last advantage of the evening.

Artem Zub was assessed an interference infraction at 13:52, but the B’s continued to be shutdown on the power play.

Late in the period, the Bruins once again had too many skaters on the ice at 15:27 and Nosek skated over to serve the bench minor in the box.

The Sens did not capitalize on the resulting abbreviated power play, however, after 26 seconds of 4-on-4 play.

With 1:29 remaining in the action, Swayman vacated the crease for an extra attacker after putting an end to several breakaways for the Senators.

After a stoppage with 39.9 seconds remaining, Cassidy used his timeout to allow assistant coach, Chris Kelly, to talk to his skaters and draw up a plan for winning a last-ditch offensive zone faceoff.

Things did not go according to plan and the puck rolled out of the attacking zone with about 10 seconds left on the clock.

At the final horn, Ottawa had won, 3-2, despite finishing the night trailing in shots on goal, 42-32. Boston had an, 18-9, advantage in shots on net in the third period alone.

The B’s left their own ice leading in blocked shots (10-6), giveaways (10-7) and faceoff win% (68-32), while both teams managed to amass 30 hits each.

Ottawa finished the night 2-for-6 on the power play, while Boston went 0-for-5.

The Bruins fell to 33-9-2 (15-5-1 at home) when scoring first, 25-5-1 (12-3-0 at home) when leading after one and 4-18-2 (3-11-1 at home) when trailing after two periods this season.

The Senators, meanwhile, improved to 9-26-4 (5-13-2 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 3-14-2 (3-7-2 on the road) when trailing after the first period and 21-1-2 (9-0-1 on the road) when leading after the second period in 2021-22.

The B’s wrap up their three-game homestand Saturday afternoon against the Pittsburgh Penguins before hitting the road for a pair of games in St. Louis and Pittsburgh next Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.

Boston returns home to host the New York Rangers next Saturday (April 23rd) in a game that will be broadcast across the United States on ABC.

NHL Nick's Net

Pastrnak caps overtime victory on the road in Ottawa

David Pastrnak scored the game-winning overtime goal about midway through the extra frame to lift the Boston Bruins over the Ottawa Senators, 3-2, Saturday night at Canadian Tire Centre.

Jeremy Swayman (10-7-3, 2.14 goals-against average, .923 save percentage in 21 games played) stopped 29 saves on 31 shots faced in the win for Boston as he improved to 3-0-0 against Ottawa in his career (and the Bruins improved to 3-0-0 against the Sens this season as well).

Senators goaltender, Anton Forsberg (10-8-2, 2.78 goals-against average, .916 save percentage in 23 games played), made 30 saves on 33 shots against in the overtime loss.

The B’s improved to 28-17-4 (60 points) overall and remain in command of 4th place in the Atlantic Division, while also in command of the second wild card berth in the Eastern Conference.

Ottawa fell to 18-25-5 (41 points) on the season and stuck in 6th place in the Atlantic Division.

The Bruins were without Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Brad Marchand (suspension) against the Senators, while Bruce Cassidy made a few changes to his lineup from Thursday’s, 4-1, loss on the road against the New York Islanders to Saturday night in Ottawa.

Jack Studnicka centered the third line with Erik Haula at left wing and Nick Foligno at right wing, while Jake DeBrusk was relegated to the fourth line left wing and Anton Blidh joined Derek Forbort in the press box as a pair of healthy scratches against the Senators.

Urho Vaakanainen was paired with Charlie McAvoy, while Matt Grzelcyk and Brandon Carlo rounded out the top-four defenders.

By scratching Forbort, Cassidy paired Mike Reilly with Connor Clifton on the third defensive pairing.

Everything else was left untouched.

Not much was happening in the first period other than the occasional big hit or two from McAvoy on Connor Brown.

The two clubs entered the first intermission still tied, 0-0, on the scoreboard despite Boston leading in shots on goal, 11-9.

The Bruins also held the advantage in blocked shots (5-0) and hits (11-9), while the Senators led in takeaways (4-0), giveaways (7-1) and faceoff win percentage (56-44).

Both teams had yet to appear on the power play heading into the middle frame.

DeBrusk (8) received a pass that exploded off of his stick before batting it out of the air on a backhand shot into the twine to give Boston the first lead of the night at 2:37 of the second period.

Studnicka (2) had the only assist on the goal and the Bruins led, 1-0, as a result.

Moments later, Tim Stützle (10) responded with a goal of his own while crashing the slot on a rebound– burying the loose puck without any pressure as Boston’s defenders were out of position.

Austin Watson (2) and Artem Zub (10) notched the assists on Stützle’s goal as the Senators tied the game, 1-1, at 6:45 of the second period.

Midway through the period, Clifton rocked Parker Kelly with an errant elbow on an open ice hit– drawing the ire of Watson and Kelly and yielding a multitude of penalties to sort through for the official scorer between the penalty boxes.

Clifton was assessed a minor for elbowing and a minor for roughing at 11:49, while Foligno picked up a roughing infraction as No. 17 became entangled with Kelly and Watson.

Kelly received two roughing minors, rendering a power play for Ottawa in the process by virtue of Boston’s three total penalties from the scrum to the Sens’ two minor infractions at 11:49.

Shortly after making the kill, Foligno and Victor Mete exchanged a few words yielding a minor for holding on Mete and an interference infraction for Foligno at 15:59 of the second period.

The two teams skated at 4-on-4 for a pair of minutes without issue.

Late in the period, Forsberg flubbed an attempt at snagging the puck along the ice with his glove while Carlo (4) crashed the net and elevated a backhand chip shot into the open net from the doorstep at 18:54.

Charlie Coyle (12) and Reilly (8) tallied the assists on Carlo’s goal– his first in 20 games– as the Bruins took a, 2-1, lead heading into the second intermission.

Through 40 minutes of play, Boston outshot Ottawa, 23-20, including a, 12-11, advantage in the second period alone.

The B’s held the advantage in blocked shots (9-5), while the Sens dominated in takeaways (4-3), giveaways (12-4), hits (19-16) and faceoff win% (52-49).

The Senators were 0/1 on the power play, while the Bruins had yet to see any action on the skater advantage heading into the final frame of regulation.

Craig Smith caught Nick Paul with a high stick and presented the Senators with another power play at 4:50 of the third period.

Ottawa failed to convert on the ensuing skater advantage, however.

Late in the period, Paul sent a pass to Brown, who fed Nick Holden (4) as the Sens defender pinched in from the point into the high slot and flung a shot through traffic past Swayman to tie the game, 2-2, at 16:06 of the third period.

Brown (18) and Paul (7) had the assists as the Senators forced overtime on home ice in front of a Saturday night crowd.

After 60 minutes of action, the B’s and Sens were tied, 2-2, on the scoreboard, while Boston outshot Ottawa, 31-30, overall despite trailing the Senators, 10-8, in shots on goal in the third period alone.

The Bruins carried the advantage in blocked shots (13-10) and faceoff win% (52-48) heading into overtime, while the Senators led in takeaways (7-4), giveaways (15-9) and hits (28-19).

As there were no penalties called in the overtime period, Ottawa finished the night 0/2 on the skater advantage while Boston never touched the ice on the power play.

Cassidy sent out Bergeron, Smith and McAvoy to start the extra frame, while Senators head coach, D.J. Smith countered with Brady Tkachuk, Stützle and Erik Brännström.

Midway through overtime, Taylor Hall kept the puck in the attacking zone and sent a pass across the high slot to Pastrnak (25) for a one-timer from the top of the faceoff circle to Forsberg’s right side off of the far post and into the back of the net for the game-winner.

Hall (22) and Reilly (9) notched the assists on Pastrnak’s goal at 2:42 of overtime and the Bruins won, 3-2.

Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 33-31, including a, 2-1, advantage in overtime alone.

The B’s also exited the building leading in blocked shots (13-11) and faceoff win% (51-49), while the Senators left their own ice leading in giveaways (15-9) and hits (28-19).

The Bruins improved to 3-2 in overtime, as well as 4-4 past regulation this season, while Ottawa fell to 2-4 in overtime and 3-5 past regulation.

Boston also improved to 7-5-1 (4-2-1 on the road) when tied after the first period, 19-7-1 (10-3-1 on the road) when scoring first and 20-1-2 (13-0-2 on the road) when leading after two periods this season.

The Senators fell to 8-11-2 (5-7-2 at home) when tied after one, 5-19-4 (3-11-2 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal and 1-19-1 (0-10-1 at home) when trailing after the second period in 2021-22.

The Bruins return home after going 2-1-1 on their four-game road trip to host the Colorado Avalanche Monday afternoon before hitting the road again to finish the month of February with a road trip through Seattle, San Jose and Los Angeles. 

Boston begins the month of March in Anaheim before swinging through Vegas and Columbus.

NHL Nick's Net

Bruins top Senators in first meeting in almost two years

Bruce Cassidy picked up his 200th win as head coach of the Boston Bruins, while Patrice Bergeron scored the game-winning goal late in the second period to lift the B’s over the Ottawa Senators, 3-2, Tuesday night at TD Garden.

Jeremy Swayman (3-2-0, 2.22 goals-against average, .906 save percentage in five games played) made 25 saves on 27 shots against in the win for Boston.

Senators goaltender, Matt Murray (0-4-0, 3.10 goals-against average, .897 save percentage in five games played), stopped 33 out of 36 shots faced in the loss.

The Bruins improved to 6-4-0 (12 points) overall and moved into 5th place in the Atlantic Division, while Ottawa dropped to 3-8-1 (seven points) on the season and remained in 7th place in the Atlantic.

Boston is 5-0-0 at home this season, which marks their best start on home ice since the 1990-91 season, when the B’s also went 5-0-0 at home to start the year.

The longest home winning streak is eight games, set by the 1983-84 Bruins on the old Boston Garden ice.

Cassidy, meanwhile, became the sixth head coach in franchise history to reach the 200-win plateau with the club, joining Claude Julien (419 wins, 2008-17), Art Ross (387, 1925-45), Milt Schmidt (245, 1955-66), Don Cherry (231, 1975-79) and Gerry Cheevers (204, 1981-85) in doing so.

Prior to Tuesday night, the last time the Bruins met the Senators in the regular season was on Dec. 9, 2019, in a, 5-2, loss at Canadian Tire Centre.

Additionally, the last time the Sens won in Boston was on April 6, 2017, in a, 2-1, shootout victory at TD Garden.

The two teams will face each other three more times this season.

The Bruins were without the services of Nick Foligno (upper body) and Anton Blidh (upper body) on Tuesday, while Cassidy made a couple of changes to his lineup after Saturday night’s, 5-2, loss in Toronto.

Jack Studnicka made his return to Boston’s lineup at right wing on the third line with Jake DeBrusk at left wing and Erik Haula at center, while Curtis Lazar took over Karson Kuhlman’s role on the right side of the fourth line.

Kuhlman joined Jakub Zboril on the short list of healthy scratches for the B’s on Tuesday.

Taylor Hall turned the puck over in his own zone on a blind pass while trying to generate a rush the other direction, but Ottawa took the puck to the net, generated a rebound and that’s where Zach Sanford (1) came in to clean up the garbage with his first goal of the season– giving the Senators a, 1-0, lead 1:14 into the first period.

Ottawa’s 10th captain in franchise history, Brady Tkachuk (3) had the only assist on Sanford’s goal in what was the earliest goal against allowed by Boston so far this season.

About a minute later, Charlie McAvoy cut a rut to the penalty box for holding and presented the Senators with the night’s first power play at 2:47.

The Sens were not successful on the ensuing skater advantage, however.

Midway through the opening frame, Drake Batherson caught Charlie Coyle with a high stick and was assessed a minor infraction at 12:43, but Boston’s ensuing power play was cut short when McAvoy tripped up Alex Formenton at 13:14, yielding an allotted span of 4-on-4 action for the next 1:29– until Coyle slashed Nick Paul and went to the box at 13:42, however.

Ottawa was given a rare 4-on-3 power play for about 1:02 and used their timeout with 5:19 remaining in the first period to rally on the scoreboard, but the Bruins stood tall on the penalty kill as both teams resumed full strength 5-on-5 action shortly thereafter.

Sens defender, Erik Brännström, tripped Coyle at 16:27 and presented the B’s with another power play opportunity that went by the wayside as the first period came to an end with the Senators leading on the scoreboard, 1-0.

Through 20 minutes of play, the Bruins led in shots on goal, 14-11, and held the advantage in giveaways (3-2), hits (11-6) and faceoff win percentage (61-39).

Meanwhile, Ottawa dominated in blocked shots (6-1) and takeaways (4-3) heading into the first intermission.

The Senators were 0/3 and the Bruins were 0/2 on the power play after one period.

Six seconds into the second period, David Pastrnak was assessed with a roughing minor after knocking down Thomas Chabot away from the play.

Ottawa did not convert on the resulting power play, however.

A few minutes later, Artem Zub delivered a quick, swift, cross check to Pastrnak and earned a couple minutes in the sin bin as a result at 3:46 of the second period.

This time the Bruins capitalized on the ensuing skater advantage.

Late in the power play, McAvoy worked the puck to Pastrnak, who wired a shot towards the net off of his teammate, Brad Marchand’s (5) chest and into the twine– tying the game, 1-1, in the process.

Pastrnak (4) and McAvoy (5) tallied the assists on Marchand’s power-play goal at 5:12 of the second period.

About five minutes later, the Bruins were dominating attacking zone possession when Hall worked the puck to Coyle, who promptly set up Derek Forbort (2) for a shot from inside the faceoff dot to Murray’s right side– beating the Senators goaltender high, glove side, across the crease while pinching in from the point.

Coyle (3) and Hall (4) were credited with the assists as Boston snagged their first lead of the night, 2-1, at 10:58.

Less than a few minutes later, after Paul gingerly made his way off the ice with an apparent leg injury (he’d return to the action in the third period), Nikita Zaitsev (1) skated along the boards to get to a loose puck first and sent a shot through Swayman into the net to tie the game, 2-2, at 13:09.

Tyler Ennis (6) and Chabot (4) tallied the assists on Zaitsev’s first goal of the season and the Senators were surging.

A couple minutes later, Trent Frederic went down the tunnel after Josh Brown made a hit in open ice that knocked Frederic out of the rest of Tuesday night’s action with an upper body, as the B’s would later tweet prior to the start of the third period.

With tensions rising, it didn’t take much for Connor Clifton and Formenton to get tangled up while the puck was making its way to the other end of the ice.

Clifton and Formenton dropped the gloves and exchanged fisticuffs as a result in what was Boston’s second fighting major of the season– the first since Frederic fought Jacob Middleton on Oct. 24th, when the San Jose Sharks were in town in a, 4-3, win for Boston.

Rather than heading to the box at 18:10 of the second period, both Clifton and Formenton got a head start in the showers before the second intermission began.

Shortly after the fight, a scrum ensued when Murray froze the puck, leading Marchand and Chabot into a bit of a shoving match that resulted in roughing minors for each player at 18:24.

For the next two minutes, the Bruins and Senators would skate at 4-on-4 once more.

Less than a minute after fisticuffs were exchanged and roughing minors were dealt, Bergeron (5) settled an indirect pass from Pastrnak that ricocheted off of a broken stick before firing the rubber biscuit under Murray’s arm.

Pastrnak (5) and McAvoy (6) had the assists on Bergeron’s goal and the Bruins led, 3-2, at 18:40 of the second period.

Entering the second intermission, Boston was atop the scoreboard, 3-2, and in shots on goal, 29-17, including a, 15-6, advantage in shots on net in the second period alone.

Ottawa held the lead in blocked shots (16-2) and hits (20-16), while Boston led in faceoff win% (58-42) and both teams split takeaways (5-5), as well as giveaways (3-3).

The Sens were 0/4 on the power play, while the B’s were 1/3 heading into the final frame of regulation.

There was no scoring in the third period, though there were a pair of minor penalties against Boston as the Bruins looked to hold off the Senators for the win.

Studnicka tripped up Zub at 2:11 of the third, but the Sens couldn’t muster anything on the ensuing power play.

Boston’s penalty kill remained effective in doing their job when Hall was sent to the box for hooking Brännström at 11:42.

Ottawa was down to their last hope with about 1:34 remaining in the game as head coach, D.J. Smith, pulled Murray for an extra attacker.

Despite his best efforts at hitting the empty net, Pastrnak iced the puck with 1:26 remaining, but Boston went unscathed in the ensuing defensive zone faceoff.

At the final horn, the Bruins had won, 3-2, and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 36-27, despite trailing the Senators, 10-7, in shots on net in the third period alone.

Ottawa wrapped up Tuesday night’s action leading in blocked shots (19-4) and giveaways (5-4), while Boston exited their own building with the advantage in hits (27-26) and faceoff win% (58-42).

The Sens finished the night 0/6 on the skater advantage while the B’s went 1/3 on the power play.

The Bruins improved to 1-2-0 (1-0-0 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal, 1-2-0 (1-0-0 at home) when trailing after the first period and 4-0-0 (3-0-0 at home) when leading after two periods this season.

Meanwhile, the Senators fell to 2-4-0 (1-1-0 on the road) when scoring first, 2-3-0 (1-1-0 on the road) when leading after the first period and 0-6-0 (0-3-0 on the road) when trailing after the second period in 2021-22.

Boston wraps up a two-game homestand on Thursday against the Edmonton Oilers before hitting the road for a Saturday matinee with the New Jersey Devils prior to returning home to face the Montréal Canadiens on Sunday.

NHL Nick's Net Previews

Ottawa Senators 2021-22 Season Preview

2020-21 record 23-28-5, 51 points

6th in the Scotia NHL North Division

Missed the postseason for the fourth-straight year

Additions: F Pontus Åberg, F Andrew Agozzino, F Scott Sabourin, F Kole Sherwood, D Michael Del Zotto, D Dillon Heatherington, D Nick Holden (acquired from VGK)

Subtractions: F Vitaly Abramov (KHL), F Michael Amadio (signed with TOR), F Artem Anisimov (signed to a PTO with COL), F J.C. Beaudin (signed with Laval Rocket, AHL), F Evgenii Dadonov (traded to VGK), F Jonathan Davidsson (HockeyAllsvenskan), F Ryan Dzingel (signed with ARI), F Jack Kopacka (signed with Toronto Marlies, AHL), F Zachary Magwood (ICEHL), F Matthew Peca (signed with STL), F Derek Stepan (signed with CAR), D Olle Alsing (KHL), D Mikael Wikstrand (SHL), G Joey Daccord (expansion, SEA), G Marcus Högberg (SHL)

Still Unsigned: F Logan Brown (RFA), F Micheal Haley, F Brady Tkachuk (RFA), D Brandon Fortunato, D Cody Goloubef, D Erik Gudbranson

Re-signed: F Drake Batherson, F Clark Bishop, D Victor Mete, D Artem Zub, G Anton Forsberg, G Filip Gustavsson

Offseason Analysis: Ottawa announced a multi-year extension on Tuesday for their General Manager, Pierre Dorion, that runs through the 2024-25 season and Dorion proudly exclaimed that “[t]he rebuild is done”.

Well, we’ll see.

It’s not hard to admit there’s a lot to like about the Senators’ roster. Drake Batherson is coming off of a career-year so far with 17-17–34 totals in 56 games last season and signed a six-year extension worth $4.975 million per season, which will eat up a couple of years of potential unrestricted free agency.

I cannot emphasize enough how good of a contract Batherson’s team-friendly deal is, considering he is only 23-years-old and playing first line minutes.

It was also his first full season, technically, but 34 points in 56 games is a 50 point pace in a full 82-game schedule. That’s some solid production from a first year player.

Brady Tkachuk led the Sens in scoring last season with 17-19–36 totals in 56 games and is currently an unsigned restricted free agent, while Connor Brown and Josh Norris each tallied 35 points in 56 games to round out the top-three in team scoring.

Ottawa took their time to construct a younger roster over the last few years by a combination of high draft picks and trading for quality prospects and now might see the fruits of their labor begin to blossom.

Tim Stützle left many in the crowd and press box awestruck by his spin moves, skillful hands and 12-17–29 totals in 53 games last season after being drafted 3rd overall in the 2020 NHL Draft.

Signing Tkachuk to a bridge deal, at least, is of the utmost priority for the Sens to keep their band of youth infused with experience together and striving for more this season, despite Ottawa’s roster being made up of an average age of 26.3.

Had their been an 82-game schedule in 2020-21, it’s not hard to see that the Senators’ late season surge might have put them into playoff contention with the special “top four teams per division qualify for the playoffs” playoff format for last season.

Can Ottawa make it back to the playoffs in 2022? It’s possible, but they’ll also be facing a lot more teams than just the six other Canadian teams they faced through 56 games last season.

How will the Senators stack up against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion and fellow Atlantic Division rival, Tampa Bay Lightning, for instance?

The Sens should improve, but they’re best bet might be playing spoiler with a side of forward progress.

Michael Del Zotto’s re-emergence as a solid bottom-pairing defender in the league brings experience and stability to the blue line of a team that had a minus-33 goal differential last season.

Del Zotto had four goals and nine assists (13 points) in 53 games for the Columbus Blue Jackets last season and was a plus-five rating.

Along with the acquisition of Nick Holden in a trade with the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for Evgenii Dadonov that also brought a 2022 3rd round pick to Ottawa, Del Zotto and Holden bring over 1,200 NHL games of experience to the Sens defense as a pair of low-risk, high-reward moves (though, again, not as your surefire first pairing superstars).

As a bonus in the acquisition of Holden from the Golden Knights, Dorion rid himself of Dadonov’s $5.000 million cap hit through 2022-23 and his continuing decline from 70 points in 82 games with the Florida Panthers in 2018-19, to 47 points in 69 games with Florida in 2019-20, to a dismal 20 points in 55 games with the Senators last season.

At the end of the day, the Sens are building towards something.

They should be more competitive, but they can’t quite win a Cup just yet. They could make the playoffs, but they shouldn’t make it out of the First Round.

Alternatively, they could miss and land another lottery pick.

Regardless, an important question remains in the crease– can Matt Murray rebound from his 10-13-1 record in 27 games last season– as well as his 3.38 goals-against average, .893 save percentage and two shutouts in that span– or will Filip Gustavsson emerge as the expected “goaltender of the future” in Ottawa?

Gustavsson went 5-1-2 in nine games with a team-best 2.16 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage in that span. He also had a 5-7-1 record in 13 games with the Belleville Senators (AHL) last season.

It might be throwing him into the fire, but if it’ll help keep Ottawa’s overall goals against down, then a little healthy competition for the starting job can’t hurt anyone.

Offseason Grade: B-

Dorion’s extension for Batherson could be praised as one of the best contracts in the league in the next couple of seasons for its value. That said, getting a deal done with Tkachuk is paramount for Ottawa’s young, developing, chemistry.

The Senators didn’t snatch any big names via free agency or trades, so they didn’t “win” the market in that sense this offseason, but they quietly went about patching some needs.

Now it’s a matter of whether or not things will pan out as the Sens look to improve off of last season’s late surge and gain momentum towards being a competitive playoff team with the end goal of opening a Stanley Cup window while their younger players are only just entering their prime.

If anything, Dorion deserves credit for not tearing things apart or making matters worse this offseason and that alone can get you an above average grade– stay the course and be a spoiler at worst or a competitor at best.