Tim Thomas stopped 31 of the 32 shots he faced, keeping his save percentage at .9382. He is not expected to play Sunday against New Jersey, so Thomas will break the NHL record of .937 set by Dominik Hasek in 1998-99.
The Bruins finish 22-13-6 at home this season and improve to 46-24-11 overall. That's good for 103 points and will keep them alive in the hunt for the second seed in the East. Boston closes out the regular season Sunday afternoon against the Devils in New Jersey.
Third Period, 18:30, Bruins 3-1: The Senators have pulled McElhinney for the extra attacker as they try to rally from two goals down late in this one.
Third Period, 14:52, Bruins 3-1: Rich Peverley extends the lead with some nifty work in front.
He cut around a check at the blue line along the right boards, cut to the front of the net and buried a backhander inside the left post.
Third Period, 13:24, Bruins 2-1: Paille gets behind the defense and nearly gets his second of the night, but he's stopped on a shot from the left circle.
Third Period, 9:23, Bruins 2-1: Thomas comes up big as Erik COndra breaks in down the left wing. Thomas stops the initial shot as well as Condra's followup as the netminder falls back to cover the puck for the whistle.
Third Period, 8:11, Bruins 2-1: The Bruins activating their D, with Adam McQuaid and Tomas Kaberle each pinching in for quality scoring chances on that shift.
Third Period, 6:50, Bruins 2-1: The Bruins usually go on the attack with the fourth line out there, but this time they got hemmed in their own zone all shift long and the Senators had a couple of quality chance before Thomas could finally tie it for a faceoff and a line change.
Third Period, 5:10, Bruins 2-1: The Bruins can't convert that chance with the man-advantage, and it remains a one-goal game.
Third Period, 3:10, Bruins 2-1: The Bruins get another power-play chance, with Spezza going off this time for interference.
Third Period, 0:42, Bruins 2-1: Nathan Horton definitely playing with an edge in this one. He took a healthy run at Jason Spezza, then had words with the Senators star the rest of the shift and after the whistle.
Third Period, 0:00, Bruins 2-1: The final frame is under way, with the Bruins looking to pull out the win in their last regular-season game on Garden ice.
Brick Breaks Down the Game: Spent a few minutes with NESN analyst Andy Brickley to go over what we've seen so far and what the Bruins will need to do in the third period to lock down this win.
Here's Brick's breakdown:
"There's definitely been more good than not good so far," Brickley said. "Coming into the day I know coach [Claude] Julien talked about execution and good habits, and that's what I wanted to see as well.
"It's tough to generate the right emotion in these kinds of games. Second or third place? Montreal or Buffalo? What does it really matter? What's important is how you play. And where the breakdowns occur is when you're trying to figure out how hard do you finish hits on the forecheck and how hard to you clear out a guy. It's a bit of a catch-22. You want to see that intensity, but I think we all held a collective breath when [Nathan] Horton got into that brawl. I like to see that emotion in his game. He's been criticized in the past for not having it, but is that the right time? I'd like to see guys pick their spots better, but I don't know what's being said and what's happening on the ice either, so maybe he felt that was something he had to do.
"In the third, I'm looking for the same theme – good habits, good decisions. I want to see them bring their skating game and I want to see everybody play. The win would be terrific, but it's secondary to me. Right now it's all about building good habits."
End Second Period, Bruins 2-1: The Bruins can't convert that late power play and head into the second intermission with a 2-1 lead.
Second Period, 17:41, Bruins 2-1: The Bruins get another power-play chance as Ryan Shannon is back in the box, this time for slashing.
Second Period, 17:34, Bruins 2-1: Nice salute to Mark Recchi, who passes Chris Chelios to move into fourth place all-time for games played in the NHL with this contest. He's now at 1,652 and counting.
Second Period, 16:44, Bruins 2-1: The Bruins kill off the penalty and are back at even strength.
Second Period, 14:44, Bruins 2-1: The Bruins will be shorthanded now as Lucic gets two minutes for high-sticking. The good news is that Horton was back on the ice for that shift, so no serious injuries out of that scrap with Smith.
Second Period, 14:26, Bruins 2-1: More nastiness in front of the Bruins net, this time with Milan Lucic shoving with Jesse Winchester, while Shane Hnidy gets tangled up with Cody Bass. No penalties are called though.
Second Period, 9:24, Bruins 2-1: The gloves come off as Nathan Horton and Zack Smith engage in a long and very spirited scrap.
They go right off a faceoff in front of the Bruins bench and both men landed some huge shots. Smith rocked Horton a couple times in the middle of the fight, but credit Horton for standing in there and throwing some back. Horton headed right to the locker room, likely for some repairs.
Second Period, 8:50, Bruins 2-1: Very sloppy shift for the Seguin line there, as they got caught scrambling around in their own zone late in the shift and struggled to get a clear for a change. Ottawa now leading in shots 15-13.
Second Period, 4:20, Bruins 2-1: McQuaid is back on the ice for the Bruins, so whatever repairs he needed from that high stick didn't take long.
Second Period, 3:30, Bruins 2-1: Seguin takes a long outlet pass, but curls back inside blue line rather than driving to the net, then gets easily knocked off the puck and knocked down by Filip Kuba.
Second Period, 1:08, Bruins 2-1: The Bruins need just six seconds to strike on the power play, with Nathan Horton scoring on a backhander at the left post.
Zdeno Chara and Milan Lucic pick up the assists, but Lucic also takes a roughing penalty after the goal to negate the second half of the power play.
Second Period, 1:02, 1-1: The Bruins get their first power play of the game and it's a four-minute one as Ryan Shannon goes off for high-sticking. He cut Adam McQuaid on the play, and McQuaid has gone to the room for repairs.
Second Period, 0:00, 1-1: The middle frame is under way at the Garden, with the Bruins looking to retake the lead after Ottawa tied it up late in the first.
First Intermission Notes: The Bruins and Senators are all even after one period, but Boston is a bit lucky to be tied.
Ottawa clanged a post early and Bobby Butler misfired on an open-net chance at the left post on the period's only power play. Butler, a Marlborough, Mass. native, made up for that with his goal later in the period to tie the game.
Tim Thomas has nine saves on 10 shots, but that actually drops his save percentage for the season as he tries to break Dominik Hasek's record of .937 set in 1998-99. Thomas came into the day at .938.
Tyler Seguin has shown some flashes of his speed and skill with a couple good rushes, but hasn't really done anything to change any minds to get him into the playoff lineup. Seguin is a minus-1 with one shot and is 2-0 on faceoffs in 4:07 so far. Daniel Paille is making sure he's not going to be the one to lose his spot in the lineup with another goal. He now has three goals in the last four games and five points in the last six games.
End First Period, 1-1: The Bruins and Senators head to the first intermission tied at 1-1 after Ottawa pulls even late in the opening frame.
First Period, 18:27, 1-1: The Senators tie it up, as Bay State native Bobby Butler gets his 10th goal of teh season.
Butler followed up his own shot, banging home the rebound at the left post as Thomas was knocked over by Shane Hnidy in front after making the initial save.
First Period, 18:17, Bruins 1-0: Marchand finishes a hit on Cody Bass on a close icing play, which earns him a quick shot from Bass, but no penalties on play.
First Period, 16:39, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins survive that penalty, though with a few close calls. Mark Recchi is seeing time on the PK with Beregron out for this game.
First Period, 14:39, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins will be shorthanded for the first time in this game as Nathan Horton goes off for two minutes for high-sticking.
First Period, 12:53, Bruins 1-0: The fourth line delivers again, as Daniel Paille gets the Bruins on the board first.
Shawn Thornton started the play with a shot from the right wing. Greg Campbell collected the rebound and flipped a pass out from behind the goal line to Paille in front, and Paille tapped it in at the top of the crease.
First Period, 11:42, 0-0: Tim Thomas has been sharp on a couple of saves early in this one, and also got a little help from the post on a Chris Phillips shot in the opening minutes. Boston has a 5-4 edge in shots so far.
First Period, 8:44, 0-0: Peverley showing a feisty side to his game with some jabs and words in front of the Senators bench. Don't see that often from the usually mild-mannered Peverley. No penalties out of the quick exchange.
First Period, 5:17, 0-0: Looks like Rich Peverley is playing center on the third line for this one, with Chris Kelly shifting to left wing. Both players have the versatility to play either spot, but Kelly has stayed in the middle for most of his stint with the Bruins so far.
First Period, 2:19, 0-0: Tyler Seguin with a nice rush down the left wing. He sent a backhanded centering pass to Brad Marchand, but Marchand couldn't handle it. Good look from the rookie back at center in Bergeron's spot for this one.
First Period, 0:00, 0-0: And the final regular-season home game of the year is under way, with the Bruins looking to build some momentum for the postseason and perhaps move up to the No. 2 seed in the East.
1 p.m.: The Bruins will open this one with David Krejci between Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton up front, Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk on defense and Tim Thomas in goal.
Ottawa counters with Colin Greening, Jason Spezza and local boy Bobby Butler up front, Chris Phillips and Brian Lee on the blue line and Curtis McElhinney in net.
12:55 p.m.: In addition to their many injured players, the Senators have scratched tough guy Francis Lessard for this one. Cody Bass will be playing his in place.
The Bruins and Senators has six fights in their first three games, but none in the last two. Of those six fights, four featured Bruins in their only fight of the season, with Zdeno Chara, Mark Recchi, Dennis Seidenberg and Daniel Paille all getting in their only bouts of the year against Ottawa.
12:40 p.m.: With Patrice Bergeron and Dennis Seidenberg getting the day off, here's how the line combinations and defense pairings looked in warm-ups:
12:30 p.m.: Tim Thomas leads the Bruins out for warm-ups as expected, but it's Curtis McElhinney, not Craig Anderson, on the ice first for Ottawa.
Thomas and McElhinney will be the goaltending matchup for this one.
12:15 p.m.: Tim Thomas will put his quest for the save percentage record on the line as he'll start this one against Ottawa.
Thomas leads the NHL with a .938 save percentage, just ahead of Dominik Hasek's NHL record of .937 set in 1998-99. Thomas does have a .937 save percentage in his career against Ottawa, including a .978 mark this season.
Patrice Bergeron and Dennis Seidenberg get the day off, with Tyler Seguin and Shane Hnidy returning to the lineup. Seguin will slide into Bergeron's spot, centering Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi on the second line.
8 a.m.: The Bruins close out the home portion of their regular-season schedule Saturday against Northeast Division rival Ottawa in a matinee affair at the Garden.
The Bruins have locked up the division crown, but their playoff seeding and first-round opponent remains to be determined. Friday's games added some clarity to the situation, but there are still many possible scenarios.
Boston currently sits in third place in the East with 101 points, three behind Philadelphia. Pittsburgh also has 104 points, but the Flyers hold the tiebreaker with more non-shootout victories so they retain second place after losing 4-3 in overtime to Buffalo while the Penguins beat the Islanders 4-3 in a shootout. Boston wins on Saturday against the Senators and Sunday at New Jersey, coupled with losses by the Flyers, who host the Isles on Saturday, and Penguins, who play at Atlanta on Sunday, will give the Bruins the No. 2 seed.
Whether they finish second or third, the Bruins can only play either Montreal or Buffalo in the first round. Those two Northeast Division rivals are tied with 94 points and have clinched playoff berths, with the Sabres securing their spot with Friday's win over Philadelphia. Montreal ends its season Saturday at Toronto, while Buffalo plays at Columbus on Saturday. The Habs hold the tiebreaker, so if they remain tied in points after those games, Montreal will retain the sixth seed.
Carolina and the Rangers are tied at 91 points in the battle for the final playoff spot. The Hurricanes hold the tiebreaker with one game left against Tampa Bay on Saturday, while the Rangers host the Devils on Saturday. Whichever teams secures the final berth will be locked into the eighth seed and face top-seeded Washington in the opening round, so the Bruins won't have to worry about Henrik Lundqvist or Cam Ward, at least not in Round 1.
Ottawa has long been eliminated from playoff contention, but they have been playing much better of late. The Senators are 14-8-1 over their last 23 games, and come in having beaten Philadelphia 5-2 on Tuesday and Montreal 3-2 in overtime on Thursday.
"I watched them play [Thursday] night, and they're a young team that is skating extremely well and extremely hard," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "[Saturday] is their last game. So if you're in their shoes and you're a young squad and you want to leave a good impression, how do you play? I think that's what should be expected from Ottawa. They were skating hard, forechecking and backchecking. They competed hard. [Saturday] that's what we're going to expect out of this hockey club, which should make it for a real tough game for us."
Ottawa's late-season surge has been led by Jason Spezza, who has 9-13-22 totals in his last 14 games, and goalie Craig Anderson, who dressed for five games as a backup for Boston in 2006 but never appeared in a game as a Bruin. Acquired from Colorado in February, Anderson is 11-5-1 with a 2.05 GAA, .939 save percentage and two shutouts with the Senators after going just 13-15-3 with a 3.28 GAA, .897 save percentage and no shutouts with the Avalanche.
The Bruins boast a pretty good goalie of their own in Tim Thomas, who is looking to break the NHL record for save percentage. He leads the league at .938 this year, just ahead of Dominik Hasek's record mark of .937 in 1998-99. Thomas has dominated the Senators in his career, going 18-8-2 with a 1.94 GAA, .937 save percentage and six shutouts. That included a 2-1-0 record, 0.67 GAA, .978 save percentage and two shutouts this season.
Tuukka Rask also shut out the Senators in the clubs' last meeting, making 33 saves in a 1-0 win at Ottawa on March 1, and will likely start at least one of the final two games this weekend. The Bruins are 4-1-0 against Ottawa so far this season.
The puck drops at 1 p.m., so check back here throughout the day for updates on all the action.
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