Senators Spoil Bruins’ Division Plans

by | Apr 16, 2024

Senators Spoil Bruins’ Division Plans

by | Apr 16, 2024

BOSTON, MA – The Ottawa Senators played the role of spoilers en route to a 3-1 victory over the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on Tuesday. The Bruins were looking to clinch the Atlantic Division title for the second straight year, but Anton Forsberg and the Senators had other ideas.

The Bruins did themselves no favors by waiting to turn up the pressure in the third period. That can happen when you punch your ticket to the postseason two weeks before the season ends.

Ottawa outshot the Bruins 11-3 in the first period. Two Brad Marchand penalties in the opening twenty minutes helped the Senators.

The Senators grabbed the lead at 10:55 of the second period on Jiri Smejkal’s first NHL goal. The 6′-4″ Czechian winger drifted past Bruins’ defenseman Charlie McAvoy in the left circle and deposited an Erik Brannstrom pass through the legs of Linus Ullmark (17 saves) to cap off a Senators three-on-two rush.

Just forty-nine seconds later, the Senators struck again on Jakob Cychrun‘s wrist shot from almost the same spot as Smejkal. Cychrun’s wrister beat Ullmark at the near post for his 14th goal of the season. Once again, the Senators took advantage of a three-on-two rush to make it 2-0.

“Results-wise, it’s not what we wanted,” said Ullmark. There are some things to clean up. It’s good we have a couple of days now before the fun starts.”

Ottawa’s Shane Pinto earned a Hooking penalty at 12:03 of the third. Pavel Zacha made the most of it at 12:44 when he scooped up a loose puck in the slot and beat Anton Forsberg with a back-hander to make it 2-1. The goal was Zacha’s 21st of the year, tying his career high set last year.

“It’s what you want as a player,” Zacha said of tying his career high in goals and setting his high for assists (38) and points (59).

“Especially every year, getting a little bit better. The players I played with the whole season gave me the chance to have those points. Coach has put me in the situation where I can succeed, so that’s something I have to deliver more and more every year.”

The Bruins controlled the play for most of the period. They consistently won the faceoff battles all night, but they really turned it on in the final period. Boston outshot Ottawa 23-1, but Forsberg (34 saves) stood on his head as the Bruins threw everything they had at him.

Boston had another power play thanks to Pinto’s second Hooking penalty of the period at 16:29, but Forsberg was solid, and David Pastrnak was sloppy.

The Bruins had pressure on the Senators, and with thirty seconds left on the man advantage and a faceoff in the Senators’ zone, Boston used their time-out.

Boston won the draw, but Ottawa was able to clear the puck. The Bruins’ Pastrnak started the attack in the Boston zone but carelessly tried a cross-ice pass that Artem Zub picked off at the red line. Zub sealed the win with the short-handed empty-net goal at 18:12.

“Disappointed in it,” said Bruins Head Coach Jim Montgomery of the loss. “But I do like the fact that we got better every period. Our third period was a good brand of hockey. Something for us to be confident about going into our preparation for playoffs.”

The Bruins will take on the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the NHL Playoffs. The series will start on Saturday at TD Garden; the time will be determined. The Bruins went 4-0 against the Leafs this year.

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