The Senators outlasted the Bruins Tuesday night, scoring five unanswered goals in the final period to come back to beat the Black & Gold 5-2, after having trailed 2-0.
Ottawa bettered their Eastern Conference points total to 50 (and possibly their placement, pending other scores), while the Bruins remained at 43, out of the top eight, and thereby playoff contention.
"We just stopped playing," said a clearly annoyed Patrice Bergeron
following the contest. "You can't do that against a team like Ottawa."
Early on the B's had clear control of the game and went to the locker room for the first intermission up 2-0 thanks to a Marco Sturm penalty shot goal, his 11th of the campaign at 2:40, and defenseman Paul Mara's second goal of the season, assisted by Mark Mowers, at 11:37.
Thanks to the early lead, Boston maintained control of the puck throughout the period, and when the Bruins did lose control, goalie Tim Thomas
was perfect and stopped all 11 shots he faced from the Senators in the opening stanza.
Despite being the victim of a couple of big hits from the Senators, B's forward Phil Kessel also played well in his return to NHL action after missing most of a month due to cancer surgery.
Thomas continued his mastery of the Senators in the second period. Coming into the game having stopped 95 of the 101 shots the Senators have fired his way this season, Thomas added 17 saves to that and kept Ottawa off the board.
However, fatigue seemed to slip into the equation and by the end of the period, the capital dwellers were pressing Thomas consistently, and Boston was only able to muster three shots in the middle period, all of which were stopped by Ottawa goalie Ray Emery.
Notable, however, was the fine play of rookie defensemen Matt Lashoff and Jonathan Sigalet, both of whom stepped up big in the absence of Zdeno Chara
, Brad Stuart and the early lower body injury to Jason York.
"They held up really well for 40-minutes," said Lewis. "We lost Jason York…there was a lot of pressure (by Ottawa) in the third period and it resulted in a lot of goals."
"They played well," said Bergeron of the rookie D-men. "As forwards, we have to help them a little more, coming back, and play as a unit instead of (allowing) them to get into trouble (without help)."
York's absence following his initial shift, just two minutes into the first period, may have been the most significant Boston loss of the evening.
As a result of the veteran D's unspecified injury, the B's were required, not only to deal with losing Chara and Stuart, but were also forced to play with only five defensemen for nearly the entire game. In due course, Boston fell behind, 3-2, as the Senators turned the game's momentum in their favor with five unanswered goals, scored by five different skaters.
Mike Comrie scored at 2:22, Dany Heatley at 5:43, Daniel Alfredsson at 12:25, Patrick Eaves at 17:53 and an empty netter by Peter Schaefer at 18:53.
At the opposite end of the ice, Ottawa's Emery shut the door, was perfect through the final 40-minutes and saved 23 B's shots in total.
"He made some good saves," said Lewis. "We could have taken the lead again, but it didn't happen."