The Bruins got the help they needed Saturday, as the Rangers beat the Red Wings. All the B’s needed was a point out of Saturday’s regular-season finale to get into the playoffs as the No. 3 seed in the Atlantic Division.
You probably know where this is going.
After starting the day without the services of an ill Tuukka Rask, the Bruins fell apart throughout what ended up being a 6-1 loss to the Senators at TD Garden. Boston gave up a 1-0 lead and allowed four straight as out-of-contention Senators feasted on Jonas Gustavsson and Boston’s defense.
The Bruins could still technically get into the playoffs as long as the Flyers get no more than one point over their final two games. Philadelphia plays Pittsburgh Saturday afternoon and the Islanders Sunday night.
If the Flyers are to get multiple points in any way, the Bruins will miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season. At any rate, Boston’s 93 points on the season made for their lowest point total in an 82-game campaign since the 2009-10 season.
Here are four more things we learned Saturday:
JULIEN GOES FOR BROKE
Depending on whether management is willing to blame the poor job it did this season on the coach, Saturday might have been Claude Julien’s final game behind the bench for the Bruins.
Julien had to apply some whacky tactics in an effort to bring the Bruins back in the third period, as he pulled the goalie relatively early in the third period during two power plays. Both led to empty net shorthanded goals against, with Jean-Gabriel Pageau scoring at 11:33 of the this and Zack Smith scoring at 14:29.
SECOND PERIOD FROM HELL
Gustavsson survived the first period, though in typical Gustavsson fashion it was not pretty. The backup netminder was scrambling to get back into position after giving up a big rebound that the Senators controlled from low in the zone. Adam McQuaid came to the rescue, assuming the goaltender’s position to successfully defend Mika Zibanejad’s big and keep the Senators off the board.
Saturday figured to be a game in which defenders like McQuaid would have to bail out Gustavsson, yet it proved to work both ways. McQuaid gave the puck away at the offensive blue line late in the first period, resulting in a Mike Hoffman breakaway. Though he wasn’t sure where the puck was, Gustavsson made the save in what proved to be one of the biggest moments of the game.
David Pastnrak’s second goal in as many games (see below) proved to be the only tally of the first period, as the B’s held it together defensively for the most part. The second period was a different story.
Ottawa first got on the board when Ryan Dzingel breezed by Colin Miller as he entered the offensive zone and went for a wraparound that yielded a chance for Nick Paul. Chris Neil jumped on the rebound, burying the tying goal while Miller and partner John-Michael Liles were still behind the net.
The bleeding didn’t stop there, as as Zack Smith topped an Erik Karlsson shot past Gustavsson minutes later and Ottawa followed with goals from Matt Puempel and Mika Zibanejad. Four some reason, Julien didn’t call a timeout until after Zibanejad’s goal. All four of Ottawa’s second-period goals came in the first 10 minutes.
Though Boston’s lack of offensive production was inexcusable given the skates on Saturday, former inappropriately overhyped goaltender Andrew Hammond did make some key saves for Ottawa as the Senators built their lead.
Hammond made a mammoth save on Patrice Bergeron right in front on the first shift of the second period. Keeping it a one-goal game at the time proved to make a major difference given that the B’s opened the floodgates once Ottawa tied it.
The former Bowling Green goalie also stopped Loui Eriksson on a partial break late in the second period, closed the door on a persistent Brad Marchand early in the third and recovered nicely from a refund midway through the third to stop Frank Vatrano.
David Pasternak appeared to be offsides when he caught a puck in mid-air from Brad Marchand, raced in towards Andrew Hammond and roofed the puck into the net to make it 1-0. Ottawa promptly challenged the play, but the angle of the video and fact that the puck was in mid-air made it unlikely that the play would be reversed.
After being on the wrong end of a lot of challenges, the Bruins finally got a key call go their way when officials determined that there was inconclusive evidence of Pastrnak being offsides.