Tim Thomas lunges for a stray puck. (photo by Steve Babineau)
Boston, MA -- The Boston Bruins, now 7-5-1, fell to the Ottawa Senators, 2-1, in a shootout Sunday night at the TD Banknorth Garden. Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson scored the game-deciding goal in the penalty shot contest, while goalie Tim Thomas made 35 saves in 65 minutes for Boston.
"I thought we had a really good start and had control there in most of the fist period," said Boston head coach Claude Julien after the game. "All of the sudden, penalties came in to take the momentum."
The Ottawa Senators came to Massachusetts having won their last six, earning impressive victories over the Rangers (3-1 Oct. 13), Montreal (4-3 Oct. 18), Florida (4-1 Oct. 20), New Jersey (4-1 Oct. 27), Atlanta (6-4 Nov. 1) and Boston (3-2, Saturday night) since suffering their lone loss of the season, a 5-3 setback to Carolina on Oct. 11.
Boston Bruins' Chuck Kobasew, right, celebrates his goal with Marco Sturm, of Germany, center, as Dennis Wideman (6) skates in during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Ottawa Senators, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2007, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Chuck Kobasew looked to be the antidote to all of that, and in the first several minutes of play was omnipresent. That included being in front of the goal and the shifty forward just seemed to materialize there just before he corralled a Phil Kessel pass and, subsequently, flipped the puck past Martin Gerber at 4:13 -- his third goal in two days against Gerber and the Sens.
"I've had some great chances," said Kobasew. "Eventually they are going to go in.
"There are highs and lows.
"Last week I wasn't scoring and the last couple of games I was fortunate to get a couple," he said.
The rest of the period was extraordinarily nondescript, with neither team taking real command of the contest, but with Boston putting six decent shots on net and holding on to their one goal lead.
Thomas, the Boston netminder who saw 45 shots on Saturday night, must have been downright bored, as he saw far fewer shots then he is used to in the opening stanza. However, a late power play for Ottawa put the visitor's shot total at seven going into the first break.
Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, right, deflects a shot as Ottawa Senators' Chris Neil (25) looks for a rebound in the second period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2007, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Just like on Saturday, the story in the second wore a gold number 30 on his back.
The session began poorly for the local six; as they had to consistently kill off penalties, including a 5-on-3 situation that occurred when a B's defenseman accidentally knocked a shot into the crowd while on a penalty kill.
Boston's Thomas was steady, however, and thanks to the goalie's consistent play and the tenacity of the B's penalty killers (Ottawa would finish the evening 1 for 11 on the PP), the score remained, 1-0, Black & Gold.
Perhaps the Senators got over a minor case of jet lag, because they sure seemed to wake up in the second half of the middle 20.
And as the period moved forward, Thomas needed to be spectacular as the Senators poured 16 shots on the Boston barrel. Undaunted, the former UVM Catamount was cat-like, going side to side in his cage to keep the Ottawa forwards at bay.
Thomas finished the middle frame with 23 total saves on the game.
Add to that total the 10 blocked shots and nine missed shots by the Sens (Boston had one and three respectively, by comparison) and you have a whole lot of vulcanized rubber heading towards the B's net in the first two thirds of the contest.
The third period started out looking pretty much like the second, however, a penalty to Ottawa's Nick Foligno looked like it might turn the tide in Boston's favor.
Senators forward Antoine Vermette scored a goal off of a rare shorthanded 3-on-1 at 4:01 to tie the score at one all.
Thanks to the momentum provided by the goal, the Senators carried the play for much of the remainder of regulation, but were held off by Thomas and the stingy Bruins defense, so the teams went to a five minute 4-on-4 sudden death overtime period.
Ottawa Senators' Daniel Alfredsson (11), of Sweden, scores on Boston Bruins' Tim Thomas (30) in a shootout during an NHL hockey game, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2007, in Boston. The Senators won 2-1. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Overtime was unable to decide the game and the teams went to a shootout. Gerber stopped the three shots he saw, and Alfredsson beat Thomas for the deciding goat, which gave Ottawa the 2-1 win.
"Shootouts are tough," said Thomas post-game. "The margin for error is miniscule.
"You get the high when you win them, where you probably feel better than you probably should, and when you lose, you feel worse than you should."
According to his coach, Thomas shouldn't feel bad at all.
"Timmy is the reason we were in the game the whole time," said Julien. "He kept us in there and made some big saves. He kept us in the lead as long as he could."
Boston returns to practice on Tuesday before leaving for Buffalo on Wednesday.
Notes -- During one shift during the third period, Boston featured three former Boston College Eagles, Andrew Alberts, Bobby Allen and Chuck Kobasew...Boston College coach Jerry York was in attendance to see the above Bruins and former Heightsman, and current Senator, Patrick Eaves...B's defenseman Andrew Ference was scratched with what was described as an "upper core" injury...Milan Lucic did not dress for the first time this season -- coach's decision.
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