BOSTON – The date was May 14, 2014.
That was the last time Causeway Street played host to playoff hockey. In what felt like an eternity, and in this case an eternity equates to almost three full years, the National Hockey League postseason is back here in the city. The Boston Bruins are trying to make the most of this opportunity.
In an effort to send the fans home happy on Patriots Day, the Bruins locked up with the Ottawa Senators in Game 3 of their Stanley Cup playoffs first-round matchup. The series was tied at 1-1 entering Monday night.
It was a consensus that this series was going to be one of those hard-fought, listless, and grind-it-out type matchups. After two games in the postseason preceded by four uneventful meetings in the regular season, it has been anything but those above-mentioned adjectives. We have an entertaining and edgy series on our hands.
The Bruins have done a solid job neutralizing the trap implemented by Ottawa thus far and have capitalized on scoring opportunities. The most encouraging aspect of the series is that the B’s are doing this shorthanded due to a depleted roster. With reinforcements on the way, the Bruins would like to end this series as quickly as possible.
As the old adage goes, one game at a time.
As expected, Tuukka Rask (1-0-1, 2.46 GAA, .911 SV%) opposed Craig Anderson (1-1-0, 2.50 GAA, .907 SV%) in the goaltending matchup. Noel Acciari and David Krejci were making their playoff debuts in this game as well.
In the first period, the action was nonstop at both ends of the ice. The Bruins got minimal looks to begin things as they mounted pressure on Anderson. However, an overzealous shift from the Bruins cost themselves when Mike Hoffman capitalized on a length-of-ice pass by Erik Karlsson to beat Rask. Derick Brassard put the Sens up 2-0 less than 30 seconds later. Boston really struggled to get shots off after the team fell into that early hole. Was the energy there? Sure. Were there moments of sloppy play? No doubt about it.
Ottawa jumped out to a 3-0 lead on Hoffman’s second tally of the game, which came on the power play. As the second period progressed, the B’s got acclimated. A quick reshuffling of the lines paid off as Acciari and David Backes scored within seconds of each other to pull within one of the Senators. Once the B’s drew a couple penalties to get on the power play, David Pastrnak was able to blast a one timer past Anderson to tie the game. Shots were 21-10 in favor of Ottawa after 40 minutes, but one would never know it by the limited action Rask saw in the second period.
The Bruins kept the Senators on their heels with the constant puck movement and player rotation to start the third period. That tactic kept things stabilized in the neutral zone for the most part, except for a few flurries from both sides. The scored remained tied at 3-3 at the end of regulation. In overtime, Bobby Ryan tipped in a power-play goal past Rask to seal the 4-3 victory for the Senators.
The play resulted in a controversial roughing penalty called against Riley Nash. After letting them play all night, that is a tough pill to swallow in the eyes of the Bruins. Either way, it did not change the outcome. The Senators now hold a 2-1 series lead.
These two teams will resume the series for Game 4 on Wednesday night right back at TD Garden.
Side Notes…Tommy Cross was recalled from Providence earlier in the day on an emergency basis and skated in this game…Brandon Carlo (concussion) has been skating with the team and is set to return to the lineup later this week…Patrice Bergeron entered this game just three games shy of his 100th NHL playoff game…Dominic Moore entered this game just five games shy of his 100th NHL playoff game…This is the first time in their respective histories that Boston and Ottawa have met in a playoff series…This was the first time in the series that a goal was scored in the first period.