Listless Senators no match for Bruins
One shift early in the second period of the Ottawa Senators’ 4-2 loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday night served as a perfect microcosm of the entire game.<BR>
OTTAWA — One shift early in the second period of the Ottawa Senators’ 4-2 loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday night served as a perfect microcosm of the entire game.
Caught running around in their own zone, the Senators gave up three scoring chances to wide-open Boston shooters. Goalie Martin Gerber managed two miraculous cross-crease saves, but a third was just too much.
His effort was valiant, but the end result was predictable. The Senators were too soft and too sloppy with the puck and the Bruins made them pay.
Senators coach Craig Hartsburg was blunt in his assessment afterwards.
“There’s mistakes, no question, there’s mistakes being made, but I don’t see us desperate to compete and win battles for 60 minutes,” he said.
“There’s some guys that do it, but I don’t think we’ve got enough on that part of the game, where it’s like a pride for the rest of the group that ‘I’m not losing this battle. I’m going to make the right play with the puck.’ ”
Centre Jason Spezza didn’t disagree.
“(Hartsburg) has been preaching the whole time we have to be a hard-working team,” he said. “We’ve got lots of skill, but if we can be a hard-working team too, we’ll be a lot better.”
Boston centre Phil Kessel scored twice, including once on a power play, and added an assist to pace the Bruins to victory. Marc Savard also chipped in with three assists.
Kessel was happy with the team’s performance, which came on the heels of 4-3 losses to the Montreal Canadiens and Minnesota Wild this week.
“We’re playing really good hockey right now. Obviously, we came out of the road trip with a .500 record and that’s a good win for our confidence,” he said. “We came out hard (in the second) and things bounced our way tonight.”
Nick Foligno and Daniel Alfredsson scored the Ottawa goals.
Hartsburg said prior to the game that Gerber was the team’s No. 1 goalie and deserved the opportunity to build on a good performance in Friday’s 6-3 win against the Phoenix Coyotes.
The Swiss netminder couldn’t be faulted for any of the strikes against him that night, as his teammates hung him out to dry late. It was more of the same against the Bruins.
“I think we got into a few situations in the first two periods where we were kind of doing a little bit of running around,” Gerber said following the game. “We gave them a little bit too much room and that’s (what that team is) looking for. We definitely have to cut down in that area.
“In the second, they took the game hard to us and we made some plays that were maybe too difficult, or we couldn’t get the puck away properly and they were able to keep it in, keep pressuring and they found the open guys, too, and that put them ahead.”
Gerber wound up with 23 saves.
The problems started early when Ottawa defenceman Jason Smith whiffed on a clearing attempt in the slot, putting the puck right on the stick of the Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron. Bergeron fluttered a backhander toward the goal and Marco Sturm tipped the puck past Gerber’s blocker just over a minute into the game.
Things just went downhill from there for the Senators. They were outshot 22-12 and outplayed over the next two periods.
The Senators’ effort level picked up in the third, but Boston put the game away when a bad pinch by Ottawa defenceman Filip Kuba turned into a Michael Ryder breakaway. Gerber stopped the first shot, but Milan Lucic potted the easy rebound goal to make the score 4-2.
Boston decided to sit Senators nemesis Tim Thomas (9-5-2 lifetime against Ottawa) in favour of Manny Fernandez. Fernandez turned aside 21 of 23 shots to pick up his first win of the season.
Dany Heatley and Kuba each picked up an assist to extend point streaks to five games.
© (c) CanWest MediaWorks Publications Inc.