Boston Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy’s decision to play Sean Kuraly over Ryan Spooner saved the season.
Kuraly scored twice against the Ottawa Senators in Friday night’s must-win Game 5 at Canadian Tire Centre, including the winning goal in double overtime. The Bruins’ 3-2 victory has forced a Game 6 in the first-round Stanley Cup playoff series that will be played Sunday in Boston.
Here’s how it all went down.
Kuraly replaced Ryan Spooner (zero even-strength points through four games) as the Bruins’ fourth-line center. Former Bruins center Chris Kelly replaced Tom Pyatt on the Senators’ fourth line. Game 5 was Kelly’s first appearance in the series.
SENS STRIKE FIRST
For the fourth time in five games, the Senators scored first. They scored on another breakaway as Mark Stone snapped a 12-game playoff goalless drought with a breakaway goal at 11:19 of the opening period. Mike Hoffman and Derick Brassard picked up assists on the goal.
The Bruins tallied just four shots on goal from their forwards in the first period.
Bruins center David Krejci went down the tunnel toward the locker room late in the first period after taking this knee-on-knee hit from Senators defenseman Chris Wideman. Wideman was not penalized for the hit.
Krejci officially was ruled out for the rest of the game during the first intermission. He missed the first two games of the series because of an upper body injury.
OTTAWA DOUBLES UP
The Senators doubled their lead just 30 seconds into the second period on yet another breakaway goal. This tally was scored by Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who had a breakaway chance because of a bad pinch by Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara.
The B’s finally scored when David Pastrnak cashed in on a rebound at 8:40 of the second period. It ended a Bruins scoring drought of more than 110 minutes going back to Game 3.
The goal was Pastrnak’s second of the series.
FIRST GOAL IS A BIG ONE
Kuraly tied the score at two with his first career NHL goal at 17:05 of the second period. The puck appeared to go off Wideman’s leg and into his own net, but Kuraly received credit for the tally.
Kuraly was pretty pumped about his goal, too.
EVEN THIRD PERIOD
Stone hit the post for Ottawa just 3:50 into the period. From that point on, the Bruins began to tilt the ice in their favor. They consistently were getting clean offensive zone entries, forcing turnovers on the forecheck and wearing down the Senators with extended O-zone shifts. Boston was so dominant that Ottawa had zero shots on net for the first 10:14 of the period.
The Senators nearly scored when Hoffman’s shot went through Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask and bounced a few inches wide of the post.
The Bruins went on the penalty kill at 14:52 of the period when Dominic Moore shot the puck over the glass for a delay of game. Boston killed the penalty, though.
Then with 2:28 left in regulation, the Bruins clearly had six players on the ice and were penalized for too many men. The Bruins killed that penalty, too, and the teams played out the last 28 seconds to enter overtime.
EXCITING FIRST OVERTIME
A frantic first couple of minutes to the extra period tilted in Boston’s favor when Clarke MacArthur high-sticked Colin Miller to put the B’s on the power play. The Bruins had a few good chances with the man advantage, including a low slot shot from Patrice Bergeron, but they couldn’t convert.
Rask made several Grade-A saves, including this kick stop.
Noel Acciari almost had the game-winner for the Bruins, but it was waived off on the ice because of goalie interference by Kuraly. The play was reviewed but the original call was upheld.
Later in the overtime, the Senators appeared to handle the puck in the crease but no penalty shot was called. Former NHL referee Kerry Fraser provided his opinion on the play with the following tweet.
The teams played out the rest of the period to force a second overtime frame.
Bergeron took an interference penalty just 36 seconds into the period, but the Bruins successfully killed it off. Just after the halfway point in the frame, Rask made another unreal save, this time on a breakaway.
Soon after that, Kuraly scored his second of the game at 10:19 of the period to win it for the B’s.
The Bruins and Senators will play Game 6 at TD Garden on Sunday afternoon. Puck drop is 3 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Marc DesRosiers/USA TODAY Sports Images