Torey Krug sealed the deal on a game-winning goal in overtime Sunday night at Canadian Tire Centre, as the Boston Bruins beat the Ottawa Senators, 2-1.
Tuukka Rask (7-6-2, 2.50 goals against average, .917 save percentage in 15 games played) made 27 saves on 28 shots against for a .964 SV% in the overtime win for Boston and improved to 3-0-0 against Ottawa this season.
The Bruins netminder improved to a career record of 42-18-9 in the month of December.
Ottawa netminder, Mike McKenna (2-1-2, 3.98 GAA, .899 SV% in six GP), turned aside 42 out of 44 shots faced (.955 SV%) in the loss for the Senators
Boston improved to 16-10-4 (36 points) on the season and held onto 4th place in the Atlantic Division, as well as the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins are two points behind the Buffalo Sabres (0-3-2 in their last five games) for 3rd in the division.
The Sens fell to 13-14-4 (30 points) on the season, but remained in 7th place in the Atlantic as a result of Sunday’s loss.
Bruce Cassidy left his lines intact from Saturday night’s, 6-3, victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs at home for Sunday night’s matchup with the Senators on the road with Rask getting the start in goal.
Jake DeBrusk (not feeling well) didn’t make the trip to Ottawa, but may return next week and Jeremy Lauzon joined Noel Acciari as the only healthy scratches for Boston, while Zdeno Chara (left MCL), Patrice Bergeron (upper body), Urho Vaakanainen (concussion) and Kevan Miller (throat) remained out of the lineup.
Mark Stone (15) kicked off the game’s scoring with his one-timer goal on a two-on-one rush entering the attacking zone at 12:51 of the first period to give the Senators the lead, 1-0.
Charlie McAvoy tried to pinch down and protect an errant puck from going the other way, which led to Ottawa’s breakout as the Sens easily sneaked past Matt Grzelcyk for the skater advantage on the rush.
Colin White (11) and Ben Harpur (1) had the assists on Stone’s goal.
Late in the period, Chris Wagner cross-checked Thomas Chabot and the Bruins went on the penalty kill for the first time of the night at 18:11 of the first period.
Less than a minute later, Boston was shorthanded by two skaters thanks to Brad Marchand’s errant elbow delivered up high on Maxime Lajoie at 19:10.
Ottawa’s abbreviated 5-on-3 power play would carry over into the second period as time expired on the opening frame of the game.
The Senators led, 1-0, entering the first intermission and the Bruins led in shots on goal, 12-11.
Boston also held onto the advantage in blocked shots (3-1), while Ottawa maintained the lead in giveaways (9-2), hits (11-9) and face-off win percentage (62-38) after 20 minutes of play. Both teams had three takeaways each and the Sens were 0/2 on the power play.
Early in the second period, Harpur got into a bit of a shoving match with Bruins fourth liner, Sean Kuraly.
The two quickly escalated into a battle of the fists at 6:51, in which
Harpur delivered a few quick blows that left Kurlay bloodied. Both received five-minute majors for fighting, with Harpur receiving an extra two minutes for instigating and an automatic ten-minute misconduct.
Boston was on the power play for the first time of the night and sustained quality pressure in the attacking zone– moving the puck around with ease, as Nick Paul served Harpur’s instigator infraction.
Finally, about a minute into the power play, the Bruins worked the puck around the offensive zone enough to work McKenna out from his crease, leaving a gapping hole for Marchand (8) to fill with a power play goal at 7:49 of the second period.
David Pastrnak (15) and Krug (15) notched the assists on Marchand’s goal and the game was tied, 1-1.
Through two periods of play, the game was even, 1-1, and the Bruins were outshooting the Senators, 27-23. Boston outshot Ottawa, 15-12, in the second period alone, as the Sens led in just about every statistical category entering the second intermission.
Ottawa led in blocked shots (7-6), takeaways (11-4), giveaways (15-8) and face-off win% (56-44) after 40 minutes of play, while Boston led in hits (25-21).
The Senators remained 0/2 on the power play, while the B’s were 1/1 after two periods.
Zack Smith jumpstarted the third period with a hooking infraction against Pastrnak, 23 seconds into the final frame of regulation.
Boston was unable to convert on the ensuing skater advantage.
Lajoie tripped up Pastrnak at 10:22 of the third period, but the Bruins power play was short-lived as Pastrnak subsequently interfered with Stone at 11:07.
Pastrnak’s penalty of his own doing came on the heels of a tremendous glove save by Rask as the Bruins netminder worked the net side-to-side on an incoming 2-on-1.
Great saves were a theme of the evening, as McKenna would later show in overtime by stacking the pads in vintage fashion to deny the Bruins of a surefire game-winner.
At the end of 60 minutes, the Bruins and Senators were still tied, 1-1. Boston outshot Ottawa, 41-27, through regulation and held a, 14-4, advantage in shots on goal in the third period alone.
The Sens led in blocked shots (11-9), takeaways (14-5), giveaways (21-9) and face-off win% (57-43) after three periods, while the B’s led in hits (35-26).
Ottawa went 0/3 on the power play on the night and the Bruins went 1/3 as no penalties were called in overtime.
Boston worked the cycle to their advantage and rotated the puck through the attacking zone midway through the overtime period.
A couple of slick back passes led the puck to Marchand’s stick, whereby the Bruins winger held onto it for just long enough to find Krejci working behind the net in Wayne Gretzky’s office.
Krejci wrapped around the goal to find Krug (2) with a sexy saucer pass for the one-timer goal as the B’s defender was on the doorstep of the crease to the left of McKenna.
Krug’s game-winner secured the 2-1 victory for Boston in overtime and gave Krejci (19) and Marchand (21) the primary and secondary assists at 3:07 of overtime.
In the last three games, Krejci now has two goals and two assists (four points).
The Bruins finished the night leading in shots on goal, 44-28, and outshot the Sens in overtime, 3-1. Ottawa finished Sunday night leading in blocked shots (11-9), giveaways (21-9) and face-off win% (57-43), while the B’s led in hits (36-26).
As a result of the loss, the Senators fell to 8-6-3 when scoring first this season.
Boston travels back home for a Tuesday night matchup with the Arizona Coyotes on home ice before traveling to PPG Paints Arena for a Friday night tangle with the Pittsburgh Penguins.