The first four games of the Bruins’ series against the Senators were decided by one goal. The series was close and competitive, but more bounces went Ottawa’s way. Going into Friday night, Boston was one loss away from ending the season. They needed a win in the Canadian Tire Center to force a sixth game in Boston on Sunday. That would be no easy task against the Senators.
True to series form, the Senators got the early jump on the Bruins. Ottawa outshot Boston 10-6 in the frame and looked on a mission to end the series and move onto the next round. They got the lead on a breakaway with 8:41 left in the period. Mike Hoffman sent a puck across the neutral zone to Mark Stone, who deked and beat Tuukka Rask to put the Senators ahead 1-0 going into the first intermission.
Things got worse for Boston early in the second period. Only 30 seconds into the frame, Zdeno Chara made a positioning mistake, Vikto Stalberg got to the puck, and chipped it ahead to Jean-Gabriel Pageau. He skated it into the offensive end and found Rask’s five hole to put Ottawa ahead 2-0. They looked like they had the game and series in hand.
Boston has made big comebacks in this series already and was not about to surrender the season. Before the game, Boston had scored seven of their nine goals in the second period. They continued that trend in tonight’s second period.
Just after the halfway point of the frame, Brad Marchand got the puck behind Ottawa’s net and found David Pastrnak. He took the puck and found the back of the net on a backhander. In the final minutes of the period, Boston needed another goal. They got it from Sean Kurlay. The rookie took a pass from David Backes, took it behind the net, and threw it on net. The puck tipped off Chris Wideman and Craig Anderson to go into Ottawa’s net and tie the game 2-2 going into the second break.
The third period was a classic back and forth matchup that saw Boston and Ottawa fight for control of the game and the series. The Bruins outshot the Senators 9-5 in the period, but had to kill two poorly timed penalties. Dominic Moore was called for a controversial delay of game penalty when he cleared the puck over the glass with 14:52 left. Then Boston was called for too many men on the ice with 17:32. Frank Vatrano served the penalty. Fortunately, Boston killed both penalties and for the third time in the series, a game went into overtime.
Overtime was even between the two teams. Rask and Anderson came up with gigantic saves and kept the game alive into the wee hours of the morning. Ottawa killed an early high sticking call against Clarke MacArthur, but missed their chances. Boston had two opportunities to end the game at the end of the first overtime. Noah Acciari put a puck into the net to win with about five minutes left. Unfortunately, Sean Kuraly was called for goalie interference and it was waved off. Less than a minute later, Boston had another rush and got a shot on David Backes’ diving attempt that got by Anderson. But a tremendous effort by Jean-Gabriel Pageau stopped the puck from crossing the line. The game stayed tied at 2-2 after the first overtime.
Both teams were desparate at the start of the second overtime and wanted the winner. Both goalies made difficult saves to keep their teams alive. Then, just after the halfway point of the period, Charlie McAvoy shot the puck from the blue line and David Backes deflected that puck on net Anderson made the initial save, but Sean Kuraly was in front for the rebound. The rookie took a backhander and beat Anderson to win the game 3-2 and force game 6 back in Boston on Sunday.
So far, every game of the series has been decided by only one goal. Boston out hit Ottawa 56-39. The Senators outshot the Bruins 43-39. Puck drops on game six in Boston at 3:00pm. Tuu