The Boston Bruins kicked off a four-game road trip with a, 5-2, loss to the Ottawa Senators on Monday night at Canadian Tire Centre.
Anders Nilsson (8-8-1 record, 3.03 goals against average, .913 save percentage in 17 games played) made 38 saves on 40 shots against (.950 SV%) in the win for the Senators.
Bruins goaltender, Tuukka Rask (13-3-3, 2.19 GAA, .927 SV% in 19 GP) stopped 23 out of 26 shots faced for an .885 SV% in the loss.
Boston fell to 20-5-6 (46 points) on the season, but remains atop the Atlantic Division, while Ottawa improved to 13-17-1 (27 points) and stayed in 7th place in the Atlantic.
The B’s fell to 8-4-1 on the road as a result of Monday night’s loss.
The Bruins were without the services of Kevan Miller (knee), Karson Kuhlman (fractured tibia) and Zach Senyshyn (lower body) on Monday, while Patrice Bergeron returned to the lineup since missing the last seven games with a lower body injury.
As a result of Bergeron’s return, B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made a few corresponding adjustments to his lineup from Saturday night’s, 4-1, loss to the Colorado Avalanche.
Bergeron was reunited with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak as his first line wingers, while David Krejci returned to his role as Boston’s second line center with Jake DeBrusk at left wing and Danton Heinen at right wing.
Charlie Coyle resumed his third line center duties with Anders Bjork at his left side and Brett Ritchie on his right side, while the fourth line trio of Joakim Nordstrom, Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner went untouched.
On defense, the Bruins placed Steven Kampfer on waivers Sunday for the purpose of assignment to the Providence Bruins (AHL). The 31-year-old defender cleared waivers Monday afternoon and was assigned to Providence without issue.
With John Moore back in the lineup in his regular role as a top-six blue liner, Connor Clifton remained a healthy scratch for the B’s on Monday.
Clifton was joined by David Backes and Par Lindholm in the press box on Boston’s short list of healthy scratches against Ottawa.
Artem Anisimov (4) caught the Bruins on a bad line change and charged into the attacking zone, firing the puck past Rask at 1:35 of the first period– giving Ottawa the early, 1-0, lead.
Dylan DeMelo (5) and Thomas Chabot (16) had the assists on Anisimov’s goal.
Late in the opening frame, a wacky bounce off the glass behind the Boston net caught Moore off-guard as the puck ended up on Senators forward, Chris Tierney’s stick.
Tierney quickly flipped the puck to Anthony Duclair (14) for the goal as the Sens forward was streaking into the slot– giving Ottawa a two-goal lead, 2-0.
Duclair’s first goal of the game was assisted by Tierney (12) at 15:44.
Roughly a couple minutes later, Marchand sent Pastrnak up-ice on a rush with Bergeron as the Bruins duo broke-in on an unguarded scoring opportunity.
Pastrnak sent a pass to Bergeron (9) for the one-timer goal in his first game back from injury while Nilsson dove in desperation.
Bergeron’s goal cut the Senators lead in half, 2-1, and was assisted by Pastrnak (19) and Marchand (27) at 17:48.
Nevertheless, Ottawa entered the first intermission with the lead on the scoreboard, 2-1, and dominating in shots on goal (14-8), blocked shots (9-2), takeaways (5-2), giveaways (11-4), hits (11-8) and faceoff win percentage (53-47).
There were no penalties called in the first period.
The Senators struck once again early in the period when Rask mishandled the puck behind the net and ended up turning possession over to Vladislav Namestnikov.
Namestnikov slipped the puck over to Tierney (4) for a mostly empty net goal, giving Ottawa a, 3-1, lead at 1:21 of the second period.
Namestnikov (8) had the only assist on Tierney’s goal.
About a minute later, Coyle tripped Senators forward, Logan Brown, and was sent to the penalty box at 2:33, presenting Ottawa with the first power play of the night.
The Sens didn’t convert on their first skater advantage and took a penalty of their own in the vulnerable minute after when Namestnikov tripped Coyle at 5:21.
Ottawa then took a pair of penalties of their own at 13:08, when DeMelo caught Pastrnak with a high stick and at 17:53, when DeMelo tripped Marchand.
In both cases, the Bruins failed to convert on the power play.
Through 40 minutes of action in Ottawa, the Senators led the B’s, 3-1, on the scoreboard, despite an impressive, 16-9, shots on net in the second period alone advantage for Boston.
The Bruins led in total shots on goal, 24-23, after two periods, while the Sens led in every other statistical category, including blocked shots (16-3), takeaways (8-2), giveaways (13-7), hits (15-14) and faceoff win% (60-40).
Ottawa was 0/1 on the power play entering the third period, while Boston was 0/3 on the skater advantage.
Midway through the final frame, Boston’s Brandon Carlo tripped Tyler Ennis and was sent to the sin bin at 9:35 of the third period.
Ottawa’s ensuing power play didn’t last for long as Chabot caught Charlie McAvoy with a high stick at 9:58, resulting in a 1:37 span of 4-on-4 action for the two clubs, followed by an abbreviated skater advantage for Boston.
Moments later, Pastrnak tripped Jean-Gabriel Pageau and was charged with a minor in fraction at 14:46.
Ottawa’s power play was halfway over when Colin White tripped Carlo and presented both teams with another span of 4-on-4 for one minute at 15:46.
While on the power play with 3:13 remaining in regulation, Cassidy pulled Rask for an extra attacker.
Seconds later, Pageau (16) notched a shorthanded empty net goal to make it, 4-1, for the Senators.
Namestnikov (9) and Ron Hainsey (5) had the assists on the goal at 17:02.
Less than a minute later, DeBrusk (7) slid a loose puck into the net from point blank as both teams scrambled in front of Nilsson at 17:45.
DeBrusk’s power play goal cut Ottawa’s lead to two-goals and was assisted by Pastrnak (20) and Marchand (28).
Once more, Boston resorted to pulling their goaltender for an extra skater.
It did not go well as Duclair (15) tallied his second goal of the night– and second empty net goal for the Sens– officially at 19:59 (but actually with less than one-second left on the clock) of the third period.
DeMelo (6) and Tierney (13) had the assists as the Senators finished off the Bruins, 5-2.
Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 40-28, including a, 16-5, advantage in the third period alone, while Ottawa led in everything else– except for hits, which were tied, 20-20– including blocked shots (29-6), giveaways (17-9) and faceoff win% (55-45).
The Senators finished Monday night 0/3 on the skater advantage, while the Bruins went 1/5 on the power play.
As a result of the loss, Boston is now on a three-game losing streak.
Meanwhile, in the last four games, Pastrnak has three assists and no goals.
The Bruins are now 4-4-3 when trailing after two periods this season.
Boston faces the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning on back-to-back nights in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday and in Tampa on Thursday before wrapping up their four-game road trip (0-1-0) in Sunrise, Florida on Saturday in a duel with the Florida Panthers.