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5 Reasons: Why Senators advanced

Resurgence of Derick Brassard, play of Erik Karlsson, depth helped Ottawa defeat Bruins, get to second round

by Chris Stevenson / NHL.com Correspondent

The Ottawa Senators defeated the Boston Bruins 3-2 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference First Round on Sunday and won the best-of-7 series in six games. It was their second Stanley Cup Playoff series victory since they went to the Cup Final in 2007.

They'll play the New York Rangers in a second-round series that starts at Canadian Tire Centre on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Here are 5 reasons the Senators advanced:

 

1. DERICK BRASSARD LIVED UP TO NICKNAME

Center Derick Brassard has been called "Big Game Brass," and after a regular season when he had 39 points (14 goals, 25 assists) in 81 games, he delivered in the playoffs with eight points (two goals, six assists) to lead the Senators.

Brassard is tied for second in the NHL in playoff scoring. He was acquired in a trade with the New York Rangers for center Mika Zibanejad on July 18 for this reason. The Senators wanted a veteran forward with playoff experience, and after a lackluster regular season, Brassard, 29, found another gear against the Bruins.

From 2013-16, Brassard led the Rangers in playoff scoring with 44 points (18 goals, 26 assists) in 59 games.

Video: OTT@BOS, Gm3: Brassard slams home Ryan's nice dish

 

2. CLARKE MACARTHUR'S COMEBACK

Senators general manager Pierre Dorion announced Jan. 20 that forward Clarke MacArthur would not return this season because he could not get clearance from doctors after sustaining four concussions in 18 months.

MacArthur, 32, didn't want his season to end. He returned to work out with the Senators, continued to improve, got clearance to play and got into the lineup for the final four games of the regular season.

He scored the series-clinching goal in overtime Sunday, his second goal of the series.

"There's nothing like living in the NHL and living in these playoffs, and [the end is] something everyone is going to have to deal with one day," MacArthur said. "But I want to stretch it out as long as I can, obviously, and with the staff and our whole organization helping me get back and sticking with me, it's just a great feeling."

 

3. ERIK KARLSSON DOMINANT DESPITE INJURY

Defenseman Erik Karlsson had six assists in the first round, including three on highlight-reel plays. Then after the series ended, he revealed that he has been playing with two hairline fractures in his left heel for nearly four weeks.

Karlsson played 41:51 in the Senators' double-overtime loss in Game 5 on Friday and 29:53 in Game 6 on Sunday.

"This guy's a machine. That's what it is," coach Guy Boucher said. "To be able to play that many minutes and be that good defensively and offensively, that's where he's at right now. He's at such a high level, and I really, really liked him also on the bench [Sunday].

Video: OTT@BOS, GM 4: Ryan nets Karlsson's perfect pass

 

4. POWER PLAY COMES ALIVE

MacArthur's series-clinching goal came on Ottawa's second power-play goal of the game. The Senators had struggled on the power play in Game 5 and failed to take advantage of their first four chances in Game 6.

Forward Bobby Ryan, who had his own playoff resurgence with seven points (four goals, three assists), scored on the power play to tie the game in the second period. He then set up MacArthur for the winner at 6:30 of overtime after MacArthur had drawn a holding penalty against Bruins forward David Pastrnak.

 

5. DEPTH STEPPED UP

The Senators acquired forwards Tommy Wingels, Viktor Stalberg and Alexandre Burrows in trades during the season. Wingels played his first game of the series in Game 6, replacing veteran Chris Kelly.

Ottawa lost defenseman Mark Borowiecki early in Game 2 because of a lower-body injury. Rookie Ben Harpur stepped in and has earned a regular role. Boucher replaced defenseman Chris Wideman, who played 11:19 in Game 5, with Fredrik Claesson for Game 6.

Boucher wound up using 22 skaters against the Bruins.

"Our legs were probably a little fresher at the end of the day and that's why we won this series," Karlsson said. "We have a strong group, a deep group, and a lot of players who can do the job."

Video: Recapping BOS-OTT Game 6 and the series

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