Bruins Avoid Crushing Loss, Claim First Place With Shootout Win Over Senators

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November 28, 2009

Bruins Avoid Crushing Loss, Claim First Place With Shootout Win Over Senators On Oct. 24, the Bruins stunned the Senators with two goals in the final two minutes to tie the game. On Saturday, the Senators tried to return the favor.

Milan Michalek snuck a shot through the legs of Tim Thomas with just more than 19 seconds remaining in regulation. The puck slid slowly into the net to tie the game, forcing overtime.

In the extra period, the teams went blow-for-blow in an exciting five minutes, but neither came out on top.

In the shootout, Thomas made up for the soft goal he allowed at the end of regulation by stoning all four Ottawa shooters, and Michael Ryder scored the lone goal of the shootout in the fourth round. The Bruins jumped into first place in the Northeast Division with the 4-3 shootout win.

Thomas had some undeniable rust after missing six games, as he allowed two goals on the Senators’ first four shots of the game. He held his ground, though, and the Bruins scored some timely goals to earn the win.

Bruins 4, Senators 3 (SO)
Saturday, Nov. 28, 2009
TD Garden, Boston, Mass.

Live Blog | Shootout Video | Box Score | Recap

Headliner: Michael Ryder had just three goals in his last 17 games. On Saturday, he reminded everyone that he’s a goal scorer.

Ryder snapped a shot from the left point on a second-period power play past Ottawa keeper Brian Elliot to tie the game at two goals apiece.

He struck again after nobody could score in the first three rounds of the shootout, picking the top corner on Elliot’s glove side to give the Bruins the winning goal.

Not far behind Ryder on the headliner’s list was David Krejci, who was simply everywhere the Bruins needed him to be on Saturday night. His poise with the puck on the power play proved to be huge in two very different situations.

He scored the Bruins’ first goal of the game on the man advantage less than a minute into the second period, immediately getting the B’s back in the game. He then later contributed to the Bruins’ third goal, calmly controlling the puck along the boards on the power play before feeding Dennis Wideman, who scored from the point.

Grinder: If there’s one thing that Bruins fans appreciate above all else, it’s toughness. And toughness was on full display on Saturday night.

Patrice Bergeron, who’s been one of the most valuable members of the team, got it started in the first period on a penalty kill. After he slipped out of position in the Bruins’ defensive end, Bergeron dropped to a knee to block a slap shot from Senators defenseman Filip Kuba. Bergeron took the shot low on his right leg (possibly on the ankle) and he lay prone on the ice as the Senators scored. Bergeron headed to the locker room and returned shortly thereafter. Bergeron again limped off the ice, but returned later in the period and finished the game.

Perhaps taking a cue from Bergeron, Mark Recchi sacrificed his own body in the closing minutes of the first period. The 41-year-old Recchi saw a loose puck sitting tantalizingly close in the Ottawa crease and dove with his stick extended in an attempt to knock it in the net. With Daniel Alfredsson smothering him into the ice, Recchi crashed into the post and ended up with a face full of iron instead of his fifth goal of the season.

With two minutes to play in the second period, defenseman Mark Stuart stood tall in front of an Alfredsson bomb — a most unenviable task.

Also of note was Daniel Paille‘s aggression on a penalty kill late in the third period, beating Alexandre Picard to a loose puck behind the Ottawa net and generating a scoring opportunity on the penalty kill.

In all, it was the kind of grit that never goes unappreciated in Boston, and it all combined to give the B’s a gutsy win.

Weak Link: There’s not a whole lot of love in Boston for Alexei Kovalev, who wore a Canadiens sweater for the past four and a half seasons. But he played a prominent role in the Bruins’ victory on Saturday, drawing an interference call 8:03 into the final period. The Bruins scored the go-ahead goal on the ensuing power play.

Kovalev later reappeared in the shootout, but he missed some open space and shot wide of the net.

Key Moment: About seven minutes into the second period, David Krejci was flying toward the net. The 23-year-old pulled the puck back and tried to sneak a shot shortside. Brian Elliot stuck his toe out just in time, but that didn’t stop the Bruins from building momentum.

The B’s opened up an offensive onslaught, registering a couple of shots before forcing Chris Kelly into a hooking penalty. The Bruins took advantage, scoring a goal on a Michael Ryder shot from the left point, with Marco Sturm screening Elliot.

The goal tied the game and the Bruins never relented.

What’s Next: The Bruins get three well-deserved days off before they host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Dec. 2. They’ll likely spend much of their time looking ahead, though it wouldn’t hurt to look back.

Heading into November, the Bruins knew they needed an impressive month to walk away in the thick of the race for first place. They did just that, even without their starting goaltender. They started out just 2-2-3 but finished the month with a 7-3-4 mark.

The Sabres — who trail the Bruins by just one point — will have one more chance to leapfrog the Bruins in the standings before the month comes to an end, but the Bruins have to be happy with where they sit at the end of their November schedule.

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