BOSTON - There was a clear playoff atmosphere on Causeway Street Tuesday night. The Bruins and Senators, currently in line to faceoff in the first round of the postseason, were meeting for the second time in two weeks and have one more matchup in store during the season's final week.
The scrums after the whistle, the back-and-forth play, and overall intensity made it apparent that both teams were aware of what was on the line. During such games, it's often one mistake that can mean the difference - and it was no different on Tuesday.
The Bruins played well on the second night of a back-to-back. They created chances and outshot Ottawa, 36-22. But a breakdown early in the third period led to Kyle Turris' second goal of the game and, ultimately, led to a 3-2 Senators win over the Bruins at TD Garden.
Video: BOS Recap: Krejci, Krug score in 3-2 loss to Sens
"One goal - I'll be honest with you. That was kind of the difference, tonight," said Zdeno Chara. "We created a lot of chances, we created some great momentum and offensive zone time. It just was one of those games where we created a lot of chances, a lot of good quality time in their zone, we just obviously didn't capitalize or score a goal.
"That's all we needed. And again at this time of year teams are playing hard. It was a pretty good hockey game, it was even. I thought for the most part we had some great looks…great offensive zone times but we've got to stick with it and stay positive and get ready for the next one."
It was the Bruins' third consecutive loss - the last two of which have come against the teams directly above and below them in the Atlantic Division standings. Ottawa's victory opened up a six-point lead over Boston for second place in the division, while Toronto sits just one point behind the Bruins for the third and final playoff spot
"Clearly the last two games were important games for us and I thought we played very well," said interim head coach Bruce Cassidy. "We had some break downs. I don't think I'm going to wake up tomorrow and see us eliminated, so we're going to go back to work on Thursday against Tampa.
"We're going to keep playing well and keep playing hard and we're going to reinforce the positive as we've done so for the last six weeks or whatever it is, and work on the things we need to get better at and then it will play out from there.
"I know there are proud guys in the room and they're upset, disappointed, frustrated, whatever word, that we didn't get points [against Toronto] and [Ottawa]. But we're playing the right way for the most part, we just have to string it together for sixty minutes - we're playing good teams."
Video: OTT@BOS: Krug makes a slick move, nets PPG
The Bruins did show resilience, twice battling back to tie the game, including in the third period when Torey Krug's dazzling one-man effort on the power play knotted things at 2. But just under three minutes later, Turris' second of the night - which he tipped in the slot - put Ottawa back ahead for good.
Boston had killed off a Dominic Moore slashing penalty some 30 seconds earlier, but still appeared a bit disjointed as Ottawa continued to maintain possession in the Bruins end.
"It was a lot of miscommunication," said Patrice Bergeron. "We didn't execute our D-zone coverage and we got exposed."
The Bruins charged hard throughout the third in search of the tying goal, but were frustrated by the strong play of Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson (34 saves), who denied a number of golden opportunities throughout the game. It was the second night in a row Boston ran into a hot goaltender, as Frederick Andersen made 32 saves for Toronto on Monday.
"The frustrating part was our lack of finish…I thought it was tremendous goaltending at their end," said Cassidy. "[Anderson] stole them a game. And certainly we lost some of our discipline early in the game. I think that frustrated us more than anything - and not finishing."
Boston did finish well on the power play, as both of their goals came on the man advantage and tied the score. The first was a rocket one-timer from David Krejci at the point at 8:57 of the first and the second came from a stellar rush from Krug just 17 seconds into the third period.
Video: OTT@BOS: Krejci launches a PPG past Anderson
"Honestly, I was just looking to get it in one of our forwards' hands and I saw the ice in front of me and I decided to take it, just it opened up and I had to make a play," said Krug, who had a game-high seven shots on goal and has notched seven points (two goals, five assists) over his last nine games.
"Obviously it was an important goal at the time. Unfortunately we couldn't sustain it and use it to our advantage and keep momentum for the team."
Now Boston must turn the page. With nine games remaining and their first postseason appearance in three seasons within reach, the Bruins know they have to collect as many points as possible during this critical closing stretch.
"We can't get down, we can't be looking back," said Chara, whose team takes on the Tampa Bay Lightning Thursday night at TD Garden. "This game, I thought we played hard, we did a lot of good things. We've got to put that behind us - tomorrow is a new day. We got to work hard and get ready for the next one."