The Bruins and Senators skated in Game 6 at TD Garden on Sunday. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)
The Bruins were more than lucky to escape the first period of their must-win Game 6 against the Senators with a lead to their name. But that luck faded in and out, and ultimately led to their elimination, as the Sens defeated the Bruins by a 3-2 final in overtime.
A day and a half after the Bruins simply survived a double-overtime Game 5 in Ottawa, the Bruins shot themselves in the foot just 17 seconds into the game when Game 5’s hero, Sean Kuraly, was whistled for a puck over the glass penalty. It was the first of three puck over the glass penalties committed by the Bruins in the opening frame.
The second came from Joe Morrow, and the third from Colin Miller. But the Bruins managed to kill all three off, and cashed in on a power play of their own when Mark Stone was called for a trip on Kuraly.
With their first unit on the ice, and as the Bruins continued to look for seams on Ottawa’s Craig Anderson, a move back for Brad Marchand forced the Sens to back off the 39-goal scorer and buy into the idea of a shot. Marchand used that to the club’s advantage, too, as he went in but then shot the puck out to Drew Stafford, who had all the time in the world to rip a bullet through Anderson top corner at the 18:13 mark of the first period for his second goal of the postseason.
The Bruins survived one more mistake in the first period, too, when Tuukka Rask came up with a stop on a Stone breakaway off a David Pastrnak turnover late in the period, and the B’s held a (perhaps undeserved) 1-0 edge through 20 minutes of play.
But the toll of a first period that taxed every B’s player with a lick of defensive zone prowess was paid in the second period.
Charlie McAvoy was called for a trip for his dangerous leg-on-leg hit to Tommy Wingels just 2:49 into the second period, and the Bruins were forced into their fourth penalty kill of the night not even 23 minutes into action.
And it was Ottawa winger Bobby Ryan, who has haunted the Bruins with timely goals all season, that connected for his fourth goal of the playoffs on a perfect deflection of a Derick Brassard shot through traffic, scored at the 3:26 mark. A period of missed passes and turnovers got worse for the B’s, too, as a Stafford defensive zone turnover put the puck back on Ottawa’s blade before Kyle Turris ripped home his first goal of the playoffs just 5:06 after they tied the game on Rask and a suddenly winded B’s group.
The Bruins were not going to go down without a fight, however, and especially not without a say from a line that’s been entirely too quiet in this series, as Colin Miller caught the Sens in a bad change and found Marchand in alone at the attacking blue line. Marchand threw a shot on net, and it was Patrice Bergeron that charged in and helped bang a rebound home for a 2-2 score.
His second goal of the series, scored less than two minutes into the third period, made it an 18-minute game.
From there, the Bruins went to a 10-man forward rotation — neither Matt Beleskey nor Frank Vatrano saw shifts — and the Bruins found great point blank chances, with none better than Noel Acciari’s clear look on Anderson shortly after the Bergeron goal.
Marchand nearly connected on a one-timer 13 minutes into the third, and 34 seconds later, the B’s were on the power play.
The Senators survived the Boston power play, and with four minutes and change, the B’s and Sens remained tied.
And after 60, with the shots favoring the B’s 30-to-23, but with the score deadlocked at 2-2, it was off to overtime. Again.
In the fourth overtime of this series, and the fourth in the last five games of the series, the 30-year-old Rask came up with two big stops early, including one that nearly flubbed off his glove and into the B’s net.
But as the Bruins were stopped at one end by Anderson, a rush up towards Rask came with a Boston penalty, as Pastrnak was called for a hold on Clarke MacArthur just as Erik Karlsson crossed over into the B’s zone. And in line with the theme of the series, it was MacArthur that scored, as the Bruins were eliminated on his power-play goal 6:30 into the overtime.
This was the first time since 1998 that the Bruins failed to win a home game in a six-game series.