Everyone had been saying before the game that the Ottawa Senators had staked a 2-1 series lead despite Craig Anderson. Not that Andy had been bad per se, but an .898 save percentage wasn’t up to his season standard. Safe to say he won this one for Ottawa.
The first period saw the Senators start poorly. It wasn’t so much that they were flat, but that they seemed to think they were the worse team. They were content to let the Bruins lead the attack, and would use their speed to counter-attack when chances arose. That led to Brad Marchand getting a few good chances early, including a breakaway, but Craig Anderson standing tall. Tom Pyatt also got hit early and looked very much in pain heading to the bench. He wouldn’t return after playing just one shift in the period. Later on, Erik Karlsson got one shot off the rush, and then Mike Hoffman used his speed to draw the first penalty of the game, forcing Kevan Miller into a holding penalty. On the powerplay, Alexandre Burrows seemed to get away with a trip on Zdeno Chara (likely because Chara’s so tall, it doesn’t look like tripping), but then the Bruins got away with a boarding call on Viktor Stablerg so we could call it even.
As the period wound down, Marchand somehow found himself on another breakaway, but Andy decided he was having none of it:
Who was saying Criag Anderson was a bad goalie? pic.twitter.com/Vtf6EEzLIW— Mike Grinnell (@MikeGrinnell_) April 20, 2017
That’s some vintage Dominik Hasek there. Andy made a couple other great saves late in the period to keep the score 0-0. In the end, the Sens outshot the Bruins 14-12 in the period, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how that happened. For the fourth time in four games, the Sens didn’t allow a goal in the first. (And for the third time, neither team scored in the first.)
The coaches must have been unimpressed with that high-flying first period, because the shot count in the second was 5-5. It really wasn’t a very exciting period. Probably the most memorable part came when Noel Acciari thought he had his second NHL playoff goal, only for the Sens to challenge for offside and succeed.
The third period was also played fairly tight, with shots ending up 8-5. Ottawa opened the scoring five minutes in, with Bobby Ryan scoring his third goal of the playoffs. He now have five points in four playoff games after 25 points in 62 regular season games. The goal came thanks to Erik Karlsson (who else) setting him up with an absolute beauty of a slap pass. It just further cemented Karlsson as the best player in this year’s playoffs thus far.
Boston didn’t seem to press too hard for an equalizer, definitely not as much as you’d expect of a team about to go down 3-1 in a playoff series, but they did get a great chance to tie it up with just over a minute left. Brad Marchand (who else) got the puck beside the net, but a great sprawl by Andy kept the puck out.
And that would do it for the game. The Sens would win a 1-0 game, and take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series. Here’s hoping Guy Boucher gets the team focused again, because Boston is too good of a team to come into Game 5 lying down.
Sens Hero: Craig Anderson
22 saves isn’t a lot for a shutout, but several were of the spectacular variety. He finally won a game this series, and the Sens did just enough to win.
Sens Near-Killer: Brad Marchand
He played over 20 minutes, had six shots on goal, and managed to earn three grade-A chances all by himself. Without Andy, this game is very different.
Honourable Mention: Bobby Ryan
A confident Ryan has turned out to be crucial for Ottawa. Seeing him scoring goals is a great change. Here’s hoping that Ryan has turned a corner, for real.