The Senators and Bruins duked it out at the TD Garden Monday, with Ottawa emerging victorious. The game started out as a bloodbath in favor of the Senators, who took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. At the start of the 2nd period, Mike Hoffman capitalized on an interference call that sent Kevin Miller to the sin bin. The 3-0 lead was short lived however, as Noel Accari and David Backes scored two goals in a span of 42 seconds. After Dion Phaneuf got called for slashing, David Pastrnak evened the game out at 3. After a scoreless 3rd period, the game was sent into overtime. Both Games 2 and 3 were sent into overtime. About 4 minutes into overtime, Riley Nash was checked to the ground, and was hit to the head. In retaliation, Nash threw a quick punch at his attacker. The referees only called Nash’s foul in a move that sent Bruins fans groaning. After a beautiful setup from Turris, Bobby Ryan punched in the winning goal that would put the Senators up 2-1. A win for Boston tonight would send the B’s to Ottawa, where a win would provide them with an opportunity to clinch the series at home. A win for Ottawa would put the Bruins’ backs against the wall, forcing them to win 3 straight in order to clinch the series. However, a win for Ottawa would also give them a 3-1 lead, a lead that recent history has shown not to mean certain victory.
Keys to the Game
Play from ahead: The Bruins had to dig themselves out of a substantial deficit in order to get back in the game. While it made for an electrifying 2nd period, they can’t do it on a regular basis. From the second that the puck is dropped, there needs to be consistent pressure on Craig Anderson and Ottawa’s defense. Boston may have escaped the grip of Ottawa’s win-from-ahead strategy once, but as a loyal fan, I’d prefer it if they didn’t test those waters again.
Avoid obvious penalties: The Senators scored two goals on power plays, one of which was the game winner. While the call on Riley Nash and not a Senator as well was iffy, it was a call that could have been avoided altogether. If nothing else, the Bruins should avoid needless penalties.
Keep the offense where you can see them: Boston’s defenders should have noticed Mike Hoffman skating alone on the other end of the ice, a mistake that cost the Bruins a goal. Against a team where giving up just one quick goal can prove fatal, giving up two goals where the scorer is in front of everyone is unacceptable.
3 goals isn’t enough: After their early blitzkrieg, scoring two goals in 25 seconds and then one in the first minutes of the 2nd period, the Senators tried to take the air out of the game. During the regular season, this strategy worked. Ottawa was one of the worst teams to try to mount a comeback on. However, the Bruins managed to surge back into the game in astonishing fashion, scoring three goals in one period. Should the Senators take another early lead, they shouldn’t resort to hockey’s equivalent of football’s prevent defense. They should aim to score enough goals so that it would take a peewee team on defense to let the Bruins back in the game.
Stay out of fights: Every time a Bruin and a Senator got into a scrap, the Boston crowd got just a little more into it. As the fighting increased, so did the decibels at the Garden. Boston fans love a good fight, and robbing them of that would certainly deflate the crowd.
Consistent offensive pressure: The Bruins are injury plagued, especially on the defensive end of the ice. To wear down Tukka Rask will be Ottawa’s best chance at scoring goals aplenty. The Senators certainly had their fair share of finesse goals on Monday. Zack Smith’s 117-foot pass paired with Mike Hoffman’s deke on Tukka Rask made for a play that any hockey fan can appreciate.
Featured Image courtesy of the Boston Globe