Boston, MA - For the fifth time this season, the B's found themselves in overtime.
A tight match-up with the Ottawa Senators wouldn't allow the game to end in regulation - and it took 3:38 into the extra time - and a few minutes of goal review, for the Black & Gold to earn the two points.
Coming off the long road trip, with their legs not at 100 percent through the full 60 and change, the Bruins were once again - despite not having their best game - happy to walk away with an extra two added to their place in the standings.
"We were second on the puck on a lot of occasions, so it made it a little bit tougher for us tonight to come up with a win," said Coach Julien following the game. "Again, you’ve got to give your guys credit for battling through it, finding ways."
"We’re obviously happy that we found a way, but we’re not satisfied that’s for sure," said Patrice Bergeron, who earned the game-winner by finding a way to put the puck past Robin Lehner on - according to the stats sheet - the B's 46th shot of the game.
Dennis Seidenberg drove a shot through traffic that Patrice Bergeron tipped from the slot, and the puck skirted through Lehner's five-hole and just over the line, as first, Brad Marchand's celebratory reaction at the net would reveal - and then the goal review would officially confirm.
"Right off the faceoff, I was trying to get open for Seides for a tip, and he made a great shot," said Bergeron. "I think that’s what he wanted to do is to find my stick, and he did, and I was just trying obviously to tip it on net, and it squeezed in so I’ll take that."
Though it wasn't the prettiest of goals, the B's would take it - especially after a game that was hard-fought, but not the gear they were hoping for.
"It could have been a lot better, and I think Ottawa played a great game and kept us to the outside," added the alternate captain, noticeably not too satisfied with the all-around effort. "But still, for us, we need to work harder to get to the front and to get to the loose pucks and to rebound. I thought we made the track a little bit too easy in the slot there."
The Bruins didn't make it easy on themselves in regulation - and certainly didn't in overtime, having to kill off a Milan Lucic penalty that had carried over from the end of the third. Lucic was called on a delay of game for covering the puck, as he was stretched out on the ice along the boards trying to poke it away from the Sens surrounding him, as time ticked down in regulation.
"Well if you’re down two men in overtime, it’s tough," said penalty killer Chris Kelly, acknowledging that with the 4-on-3 situation, the B's were technically down two men from their normal 5-on-5 play.
"You just try to work on the systems that are put in place when you’re killing and know who their threats are and try to anticipate where that pucks going and try to get it down as much as possible."
Despite the important kill at the end of the third and in overtime, the PK ended its streak at 27 straight penalties killed - an anomaly, considering the incredible right pad save Tuukka Rask made on Kaspars Daugavins with five seconds to go before Ottawa put home the rebound.
"Tuukka kept us in the game for sure," said Bergeron. "Ottawa had some great chances. We were a little off in in our zone finding loose pucks and the puck was bouncing a little bit too, and we talked about that, keeping things simple. On the road we had to do that and again tonight, and sometimes we didn’t do it."
"Our feet weren’t moving like we wanted to," added Nathan Horton, who go the game's first goal and his seventh of the season after a give-and-go with Dougie Hamilton off the right faceoff circle. "You know, there’s times throughout the game there where we felt good I thought and we looked good but other times where we weren’t getting first to the puck like we normally do."
"It was just that kind of game I guess. We found a way to win, that’s what we wanted but we definitely, we know we’ve got to be better."
"That’s just kind of the way it’s been this year, we don’t play our best game and we still come out with a win."
"Like I said, it’s not how we want to play but in the end we did get the points and move on to the next game and be better."
There had been talk prior to the game about the constant challenge in the league of coming off a long road trip, and having a tough first game back in the confines of home. That theory seemed to prove itself Thursday night.
"I don’t know why it is, everyone always talks about it and you try to put it out of your mind," said Chris Kelly on the league-wide challenge. "I don’t know if it’s the comforts of home or playing in front of the fans but it always seems to be a struggle, be a battle but I thought we battled hard, considering."
"You come back from a road trip and the travel, the games that you play, and then you come back home from all that and it just seems like it’s always a challenge," added Coach.
"You’re not always going to see a game with pretty goals. It was a hard-fought game. They played extremely well. You have to give them a lot of credit. They work hard and they don’t give you much."
Even with Ottawa not providing much room, Boston out-hit and out-shot their opponent. And when the score sheets are tucked away, and the B's packed up and headed home, the two points are all that remain.
"At the end of the day it’s about results," said Coach.
"We know we’re a better team, we know we can play better. We know we didn’t have our A-game, so you turn the page and say well done, as far as battling through it."
"Again, I’m certainly not criticizing our team for how they played because they still battled through. We didn’t have our legs, so it’s not because they didn’t want to, but certainly Saturday’s game I’m looking for our team to be better and hopefully we’ll have gotten into our groove at home."
"Every game is a big motivation for us to prove ourselves again, over and over, that we are the team that wants to play our best every night and beat every team," added the Captain, Zdeno Chara.
"We know it’s kind of impossible to do throughout the long season, but we want to do our best to accomplish that."
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