A first period full of penalties proved to be a blessing in disguise for the Bruins, who held on through an uneven third period for a 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators Thursday night at the TDBanknorth Garden.
The Bruins got back in their scoring groove with three goals – a power play goal and a shorthanded goal included – and a fight, all in the first 20 minutes.Ward's Reward…
The first Bruins tally was a shorthanded goal by Aaron Ward at 3:17 of the first. The veteran defenseman stepped out of the penalty box at just the right time to find a pass from Patrice Bergeron
and take it up the ice on a breakaway shot.
The goal was his first shorthanded goal, and it happened in his 750th game.
“I was a little uncomfortable after it happened,” said Ward, with a laugh. “I’ve never scored on a breakaway and it kind of shocked me so I didn’t really know what to do.
“I got my stick in the air and you’ll notice I didn’t acknowledge my teammates because I just wanted to get off the ice and hide.”…and Other Goals.
Winger Chuck Kobasew’s shot found its way into the right side of former Bruin Alex Auld’s net at 10:24, a power play goal while Ryan Shannon sat in the box for hooking.
Assists went to right wing Michael Ryder, who fed Kobasew the puck, and center Marc Savard
for the B’s third score of the night.
Fellow forward P.J. Axelsson also chipped in with the second goal of the game at 6:52, also having emerged from the sin bin about 10 seconds earlier, on a perfectly-executed give-and-go pass to David Krejci
“That was a nice pass by Krejci; really nice,” said Axelsson. “But knowing him, he’s going to give it back. He’s a passer.
“It’s nice when they go in,” added Axelsson, with a grin.Emotional Commitment
Out shooting the Bruins but getting nowhere, the Sens said enough was enough, and just four seconds after Axelsson’s goal, Ottawa's Chris Neil took on Boston's Milan Lucic
in front of the Bruins bench.
Lucic stood tall and exchanged blows with the Ottawa tough guy en route to a very nice evening for the B's left wing, which included the fight, a hit and three takeaways.
"I thought Luch seemed more into it tonight," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. "I talked about getting a little more emotion in our game, and he did that.
"I think what we’re looking for his from him -- no matter where we put him to play -- that kind of intensity and focus."
“I think we want to ride good momentum heading into the playoffs,” said Lucic after the game. “It’s not an easy switch to just turn off if we end the season off with a slump so I mean we want to make sure we’re doing all those little things right and where everyone’s buying in and buying into the game plan and getting back to what we were back in November, December, and January.
“So I think it all starts now to build all that up and create some momentum going into the playoffs.”Phil, Thrilled
An uneventful, second period was followed by another period of scoring, opening and closing with third period goals by Phil Kessel.
Kessel’s first, Boston’s fourth of the night came at 4:31 of the third session and was assisted by Savard and Mark Stuart.
“Obviously Stuey made a pass to Savvy and then Savvy made a great play on the wing there, a little chip pass for a two-on-one and [Lucic] drove to the net so that guy took him and I was able to shoot it,” he said.
His second, the fifth and final goal for the B’s, was an empty-netter with 55.6 seconds remaining in regulation.
In between the two tallies, the Senators Christoph Schubert and Jason Spezza managed to bring Ottawa within one goal of the Bruins, giving a nail-biting ending to the night.
“I’ve had a lot of chances over the last little bit that I haven’t finished – the breakaway against Columbus, and stuff like that -- I just have to go out there and bear down a little bit on my chances and start finishing them,” said Kessel.Other Notes:
The Bruins extended their win streak over the Senators to six games, including all four games of this season’s series, with their last loss to Ottawa a 4-1 setback in Ottawa on Mar. 11, 2008…Boston snapped a stretch in which they had allowed at least one power play goal in six straight games…Ward’s first career shorthanded goal was the seventh shorthanded goal of the season for Boston and was the fourth shorthanded tally allowed by Ottawa this season… The Bruins took 3-0 and 4-1 leads in tonight’s game. It was the 21st game this season in which they have had a three-goal lead at one point in the contest and they are now 21-0-0 in those games…It was the ninth time that they have scored the game’s first three goals and they are now 9-0-0 in those contests.