What a heartbreaker.
After taking a 2-0 lead and later giving it up, the Ottawa Senators fell to the Boston Bruins in double overtime, extending the series to game six in Boston. Sean Kuraly’s two goals proved to be the difference in the contest, extending the Bruins’ season to at least one more game.
Still with two more chances remaining to close out the series, the Senators put their best foot forward, putting the pressure on the Bruins’ defence. Both goalies, Craig Anderson and Tuukka Rask, came into the game in top shape, holding the game to as close as it was.
The first period began with a small scare for Ottawa, with both Bobby Ryan and Chris Kelly having to temporarily leave the ice. Both would soon return though, and help Ottawa with their fast start.
I posted an article on Wednesday about Mark Stone’s struggles, as he was coming into tonight on a nineteen game goal drought. He was hungry to finally score in the playoffs, and tonight he finally got it. Mike Hoffman sent a sweet Karlsson-esque saucer pass from the Senators’ blue line, which sprung Stone on a breakaway. He deked to the backhand putting Rask on his stomach, and buried the puck to put the Senators on the board first. What a way to break a slump!
Not too long after, Chris Wideman had an awkward collision with David Krejci, which although appeared to be knee-on-knee, went unpenalized by the referee. Krejci took the brute force from the play, missing the remainder of the game.
First intermission complete, it didn’t take very long for the Senators to double their lead. Viktor Stalberg chipped the puck past a confused Zdeno Chara, which went right to the stick of Jean-Gabriel Pageau who was left all alone on a breakaway. Pageau shot the puck five-hole, which beat Rask and earned him his first point of the playoffs.
Pageau chants rang through the sold-out Canadian Tire Centre. Clarke MacArthur had a wide open chance that almost put Ottawa up 3-0. The second round was soon to be ours!
In hindsight, we really should’ve seen coming the events that followed. The team that goes up has never been able to hold their lead in this series, from Ottawa blowing their 1-0 and 3-0 leads in games one and three, to Boston’s 3-1 lead disappearing in game two.
Boston’s comeback began 8:40 into the second period. Brad Marchand carried the puck behind the net, and although Craig Anderson was ready for the wraparound, he wasn’t prepared to stop David Pastrnak who was hanging out in the slot. Marchand found Pastrnak, making the game 2-1.
The Sens would pressure the Bruins in their end, although it was one chance that brought the game to a 2-2 tie. Sean Kuraly, who was put in the lineup in place of healthy scratch Ryan Spooner, had some space with the puck behind the Senators’ net. He tried to tuck it in, although the puck instead bounced off the skate of Chris Wideman and found a hole past Anderson. It was a fluky goal, but it was Kuraly’s first in the NHL to officially erase the Sens’ 2-0 lead.
At this point, shot totals were relatively low for both teams, with Ottawa leading 16-9 at 5v5. It’s incredible how much the Senators have been able to hold down Boston’s offence, limiting them to an insanely low average of 26 shots per game after 60 minutes. For comparison in the regular season, Boston had the second highest average of shots for (33.2), whereas Ottawa was middle of the pack in shots against, on average allowing 30.1.
The third frame was quite nerve-racking for Sens fans, as the defence was caught in their end with the Bruins giving Anderson a bit more work. It was a battle of the goalies, however, with neither allowing another goal to slip by. Ottawa had their chances nearing the end of regulation, with the Bruins taking a puck-over-glass and a too-many-men penalty both within the last five minutes. The power play mustered nothing, not showing the effort of a team on the brink of making the second round.
The game headed to overtime for the third time this series, with fans hoping for the same outcome as the previous two. An early high-sticking call on Clarke MacArthur raised the intensity, although that quickly died off as the tired teams exchanged icing after icing for the majority of the first overtime.
What OT would be complete without a scare, though? Noel Acciari, racing in on a partial breakaway, would partially collide with Craig Anderson, with the puck somehow finding the back of the net. The B’s celebrated, despite the call on the ice being no goal due to goalie interference. After an extensive review, it was confirmed that Acciari interfered with Anderson, although the decision appeared very close. Here’s the footage; you make the call.
Another fantastic chance for Boston came later in overtime, although Pageau was able to bail out Craig Anderson and somehow keep the puck from crossing the line. The play was reviewed for Pageau putting his hand over the puck, although nothing was called.
If playoff overtime couldn’t be stressful enough, Viktor Stalberg left the ice with 2:18 remaining, although he returned not too long after. Both teams were completely gassed at this point, but the game was yet to be decided. Double overtime would be needed.
Ottawa would get the early power play this time, although it looked tired with no good chances coming from it. Ryan Dzingel would have to head to the dressing room, but he too would return quickly. The Senators were getting beat up in this game, absorbing a massive 56 hits while only tossing 39.
Kyle Turris received a fantastic feed from Ryan Dzingel to have the chance to end it, although that would be the last of the Senators’ great opportunities as Sean Kuraly would score his second goal of the game, and of his career, to conclude the marathon. Anderson would make the initial save off Charlie McAvoy from the point, although the rebound would be wide open with zero chance to recover.
Sens Hero: Craig Anderson
He made 36 saves, often keeping Ottawa in the game with timely stops. None of the Bruins’ goals were particularly of his fault.
Honourable Mention: HST (Hoffman, Stone, Turris)
Although they weren’t playing on the same line together, the trio of Hoffman, Stone and Turris led the way for Ottawa’s offence. Hoffman was dangerous all night, Stone finally broke his slump with a slick goal, and Turris led both teams tonight with eight shots on goal.
Sens Killer: Sean Kuraly
A night he will never forget, scoring the game-tying and game-winning goals, the first two of his NHL career.
Honourable Mention: Tuukka Rask
Like Anderson, Rask held the fort for the Bruins, in a game that could’ve easily had a few more goals on both sides.
Coming Up: The series returns to TD Garden in Boston for game six, with the matchup starting at 3:00 PM on Sunday.