The series between Boston and Ottawa was a beautiful demonstration of the stress, strain, intensity, passion, controversy, and heartbreak on display in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Three of the first five games went into overtime and everyone has laid out their best effort in the series. When the Senators and Bruins got together for game six, more of the same was shown.
Ottawa dominated the first period, outshooting the Bruins 12-6. Tuukka Rask stood up and made every save needed to keep Ottawa off the board early. Boston kept it close, then found their chance to score. With 2:45 left in the first period, Mark Stone was called for tripping. On the ensuing power play, Boston got their first first period goal in the series. Brad Marchand found Drew Stafford on the right side and Stafford beat Craig Anderson top shelf to take a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
Ottawa took control of the game early in the second period. Charlie McAvoy was called for tripping and the Senators made Boston pay. Bobby Ryan got his fourth goal of the series, redirecting a Derick Brassard slap shot to beat Rask. Five minutes later, Kyle Turris untied the game after Drew Stafford turned the puck over and Ryan Dzingel passed it to him. Boston outshot the Senators for the period, but Anderson made 12 saves in the period to take a 2-1 lead into the third period.
The Bruins wasted no time tying the game early in the third period. Patrice Bergeron netted his second goal of the series, putting in his own rebound by Anderson. Boston dominated the rest of the period, outshooting the Senators 12-3, but Anderson would not budge. After 60 minutes of regulation play, the teams were tied 2-2. Overtime was needed one more time to determine a winner.
Boston got some early chances, but ran into controversy with only a few minutes gone. Noel Acciari carried the puck into the offensive zone and wanted to shoot on Anderson. Cody Ceci broke his stick trying to defend him. Ceci dove and got tangled up in Acciari’s feet, causing him to fall and lose his chance to shoot. The TD Garden erupted in fury at the no call, then lost their minds when David Pastrnak was correctly called for holding. The issue wasn’t Pastrnak’s call, but that the first call against Ceci was not made.
For the second time in the series, Ottawa was given a controversial power play in overtime in Boston. Also for the second time, the Senators made it count. Erik Karlsson and Bobby Ryan, the two best players in the series, created a shot and Rask made the saves. Clarke MacArthur, who missed most of two seasons due to serious concussions, took the rebound and ended the game and the series. Ottawa wins their first series since beating Montreal in the opening round of the 2013 playoffs. They will face the Rangers in the next round of the postseason.
Boston’s mid season surge ends in controversy after two missed calls, but many injuries that forced a college player to make his NHL debut in the playoffs, a coaching change that altered the staff and style of the play of the team. Fans should feel ok about the direction of the team for next season after Brad Marchand’s excellent season, Bergeron’s efforts, Charlie McAvoy’s debut, and the attitude of the team under Bruce Cassidy.