Tuukka Rask is the man.
For the second game in a row, the Boston Bruins sleepwalked through the 1st period – particularly defensively as Rask was left exposed by turnovers and poor angles.
He gave up two goals in the period but stopped several other shots from the slot and point blank in the period, then after holding Ottawa scoreless in the final two periods and overtime, he stopped 3 of four in the shootout leading the Bruins to their third straight win, 3-2 over the Senators at the ScotiaBank Place in Ottawa on Monday night.
Defenseman Shawn Thornton scored his second goal of the season and Daniel Paille his fifth as Boston raised it’s record to 17-3-3 for a total of 37 points, one behind Northeast Division and Eastern Conference leading Montreal. Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci scored the shootout goals
The Senators had a lead before the fans had settled into their seats. Guillaume Latendresse took a pass from Sergei Gonchar and backhanded a breakaway attempt into the net for a very early Ottawa lead.
After Rask made several difficult saves, the Senators managed to light the lamp once more, as Kyle Turris took control of the puck at the blue line and swept in toward Rask keeping the defense on his back shoulder and fired a drive over Rask’s shoulder and Ottawa had a 2-0 lead.
Turris also scored the only shootout goal for the Senators, who dropped to 13-8-5 on the season.
With less than a minute left in the opening period and the Bruins on the power play, Thornton jammed a shot into the pads of Ottawa goal tender Robin Lehner from a scrum in front of the net, the puck dribbling behind Lehner and barely over the red line to get the Bruins within one going into the second period.
The Bruins tied the score at 2-2 at almost the mid point of the second. Krejci placed a perfect pass right on the tape of a streaking Paille, who snapped the puck past Lehner.
The third period and overtime passed without incident, though both teams had chances to end the game in the extra session, and the game went to the shootout. Jakob Silferberg and Tyler Seguin both missed on the initial attempts of the period, then Turris and Bergeron traded goals before Daniel Alfredsson and Brad Marchand were stoned on their attempts.
Things got kind of weird after that.
Trapping the puck under the nose of his inverted stick, Ottawa’s Kaspar Daugavins bore down on Rask, who held his ground, dropped his pads to ice level as Daugavins performed a Zdeno Chara-type 360 spin move that struck Rask’s skate blade and dribbled back out onto the playing surface.
Krejci then tucked his attempt in past Lehner and the Bruins had won their tenth straight in Ottawa and gained two points in a game that they never lead.
Now the Senators head out on the road, first to Montreal for a face off with the Habs on Wednesday night and then to Buffalo to take on the Sabres on Saturday night while the Bruins hop on the red eye to Pittsburgh where they take on the Penguins on Tuesday night, returning home to host the Florida Panthers on Thursday and the Washington Capitals on Saturday night.
The Bruins may have won their past three games despite their sleepwalking ways early, but that isn’t going hold up going forward as the Bruins play their toughest stretch of the abbreviated season.
Rask is game, but he can’t stop everything, especially being put on the spot by sloppy defense. The Bruins will look to tighten that up against the Pens tomorrow night.