OTTAWA, CANADA- JANUARY 31: Marc Savard #91 of the Boston Bruins celebrates a goal against the Ottawa Senators with teammate Dennis Wideman #6 during a game on January 31, 2008 at the Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Canada. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
As seen on NESN -- Thursday night in Ottawa, the Boston Bruins defeated the Senators 4-1 in the Scotiabank Place. Forwards Phil Kessel, Milan Lucic, Marc Savard and Chuck Kobasew all scored and B's goalie Tim Thomas matched his uniform number with 30 saves. Antoine Vermette scored the Eastern Conference leaders' lone goal in the loss.
"We beat the best team in the East," said Savard to NESN after the game. "It was a great game for us."
A late lineup change (Marco Sturm was scratched with flu-like symptoms) put the banged-up Bruins behind the ice hockey eight ball in warm ups. But the Senators were also shorthanded (and missing snipers Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley) and they looked to overcome their own lineup's shortcomings by continuing their four game win streak against the B's on Thursday night.
But two early goals by Boston's budding superstars put the Sens on their heels very early.
Kessel, the recently snake-bitten, but now surging, Boston sophomore, beat Ottawa's starting goalie for a goal at just the 28-second mark of the first period. He took the puck off a Savard faceoff win and found the net with a nifty wrist shot to the far side of the Sens goal.
"Savvy won a great draw," explained Kessel to NESN's Rob Simpson after the first period. "I was fortunate to beat the goalie
"I thought our first period here tonight was pretty good and we just have to keep it going for the next two."
At 3:18 B's freshman Lucic continued that terrific first period when he added his sixth goal of the season. Lucic cleaned up the garbage in front of the Senators net when the rebound off a Chuck Kobasew shot settled just outside the crease and Milan deposited the puck into the basket.
"We had a great start…the first five minutes," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. "We caught them off guard a little bit."
An outstanding save by Boston's Thomas allowed Boston to go ahead by three when a lounging left arm save by the man nicknamed "The Tank" led to another terrific hockey play by Savard and then led to a Bruins goal by the center at 8:21.
In the second period, Thomas and the Bruins defense dominated the Senators as Boston continued to send the Ottawa forwards away from the B's goal empty handed.
"We got pretty quick pressure on their entries [on the penalty kill]," said Andrew Ference during the second intermission. "It definitely overshadowed our [power play] effort."
Gerber settled in and Ottawa did not allow the Black & Gold to add to their three-goal lead. The Senators killed a late five-on-three for Boston and gave the B's quite a scare late in the stanza. Although they did not dent twine, Ottawa continued to hold sway in the third period and Coach Julien called his timeout in an attempt to center his team's focus.
"I thought we sat on our lead too much," said Julien.
But it was Thomas who continued to keep the Senators at bay, often through traffic and under duress.
However, the Bruins luck could only hold out for so long. Boston had no shots in the third period when Antoine Vermette took Ottawa's 10th shot and found the back of the Bruins goal to make the game 3-1.
The Senators goal seemed to wake the Bruins and the Black & Gold shut the door on Ottawa for the remaining time on the clock. And, with Gerber pulled with 1:40 left in the game, Lucic worked a puck over the redline and passed to a wide-open Kobasew who netted the B's fourth goal and ice the contest.
"It maybe wasn't the best effort or outing that we've had," said Coach Julien. "But we found a way to win [and[ these are a big two points for us."
Wrist shot -