BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins defeated the Ottawa Senators, 4-3, thanks to assistant captain and veteran forward Glen Murray's two goals, including the 300th of his NHL career, a fine goaltending performance by Tim Thomas
and Petr Tenkrat's first Bruin goal in his first game for Boston.
Center Patrice Bergeron
scored the game winning goal 13:42, cementing the Boston victory, earning the Bruins their second win against their division rivals and sending the 15,772 fans home happy from the TD Banknorth Garden.
"If you had been in the locker room before the game you probably would have liked that atmosphere," said Bruins head coach Dave Lewis. "That was really important. It was a real team effort as far as everyone contributing in a certain way.
"Whether you are the guy on the fourth line killing penalties, or the guy on the top line scoring goals, it's great to get a combined, total effort," he said of the evening.
Just a few hours earlier, the story line for both teams going into Saturday night was amazingly similar and, unfortunately, not exactly what either squad would want at this point in the 2006-07 campaign.
Ottawa, entering with 13 points and fourth in the Northeast Division came into the game wounded, missing their goalie Ray Emery, and having lost five of six. Boston began the evening fifth in the division with only 10 points, and came into the match having gone 2-2-1 in their last five games. And through the early going of the new season, the Bruins had struggled to ice a steady lineup due to injuries and inconsistent play.
While the more established roster of the Senators made Ottawa's struggles much more of a shock to the hockey world than those of the very young and very new Bruins squad, the expectations of the puck fans of New England, as well as the team's own high hopes, have been hard on the ever-evolving Bruins. As such, the men in the locker room and the people in the stands have looked upon each game for the Boston team as a playoff intensity affair, a difficult way to start the year.
Obviously, both teams had higher expectations coming into the season, and looked to turn things around against each other in their second clash of 2006-07.
But, no matter the intensity shown by both teams, the first period on Saturday was distinguished mostly by several fine saves by both goalies, but by little else -- until Ottawa's Antoine Vermette garnered a hooking penalty at the 20:00 mark.
Thanks to the late first period call, the Bruins emerged from the locker room to start the second stanza and promptly put themselves ahead via the power play, when Murray took a pass from Zdeno Chara
and deposited the puck behind Ottawa goalie Martin Gerber at the 23 second mark of the session.
However, Ottawa's Jason Spezza returned the favor, scoring his eighth of the year on a power play goal at 4:46, and tying the game at 1-1.
Then, playing the drama card and setting up a winning story for the home squad, Boston's Tenkrat, called up from Providence just this afternoon when Wade Brookbank and Jeff Hoggan were sent to the P-Bruins, took a nifty pass from rookie forward Yan Stastny at 13:47 to put the Bruins ahead 2-1 to score his first Bruins goal in his Boston debut.
"I shot it low and I scored the goal," said Tenkrat of his marker. "I was pretty excited…it was an amazing feeling."
Murray attempted to steal the show from the newcomer when he scored his 300th NHL goal at 17:24. But Ottawa's Chris Neil squeaked one through Boston's goalie Thomas and closed the gap to 3-2 going into the second intermission. Then, adding even more drama to the evening, immediately following the break Neil scored again at 1:25 of the third period.
But Bergeron put the Bruins ahead for good, 4-3, when he deflected a Brad Stuart shot, beating Gerber through the five-hole to score his fifth of the year.
"You have to get into a rhythm," said Thomas, who hoped that he and the Bruins could build off this, his third win. "Winning is a habit and a rhythm just like losing can turn into a habit and a rhythm.
And yes, the lineup shakeup did wakeup the Bruins.
"I am happy for Petr, that he got a chance and got called up. But I think, as a team we're disappointed that Brookbank and Hoggan had to get sent down, because it is not their fault that they got sent down. It's the way the whole team has played.
"If we had been winning they would still be here," said Thomas.
Murray had similar sentiments.
"It's a nice accomplishment," said Murray of his milestone as he stood in the victorious locker room. "But it is more of a big win for us, no question.
"Wins have been tough to come by lately and we'll take them any way we can get them."
"Don’t get too high on the wins and don't get too low on the losses," explained Lewis. "We're trying to establish an even keel and I thought you saw that tonight.
"I thought we did a great job, when it was 3-3, attacking…and we killed off some penalties and that's the type of mentality you want to carry.
"So, yah we got a big win tonight and tomorrow will be a day off and let's get back to business on Monday," said Lewis.
The Bruins next play on Wednesday versus Washington. Their next home game is against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Tickets are available for all home games online by clicking here
, at the TD Banknorth Garden Box Office, or by phone at 617.624.BEAR. Through Thanksgiving, all children 12 years old and under will be admitted free with the purchase of a ticket for select seats.