Bobby Ryan played the role of hero Monday night. However, the Ottawa Senators can only play what is put in front of them.
That loud sigh of relief you heard Monday came from TD Garden after the Senators blew a three-goal lead in the second period and still managed to skate away with a 4-3 overtime victory and to take a 2-1 first-round playoff series lead over the Boston Bruins. Bobby Ryan scored the OT victor on the power play, and he probably shouldn't have been on the ice, and definitely shouldn't have had the man advantage. Both of these games have been single goal finals, the Bruins won 2-1 in the opener before Ottawa earned the must-win in overtime on Saturday night.
But in the third, defenceman Chris Wideman sent a weak shot through traffic past Rask to pull the Senators within a goal.
It was the second straight overtime game of the series, and second consecutive win for the Senators following their 4-3 victory in Game 2.
"Every game is a new game and it's a new story".
No, the Senators weren't ideal by any stretch of the imagination in Game 2 when they erased a two-goal deficit to help set up defenceman Dion Phaneuf's game-winning goal, but they took steps in the right direction and the message from coach Guy Boucher on Sunday was that there are still areas the club needs to work on.
And then with 7:48 left, Derick Brassard ripped a one-timer into a near-wide-open net after getting perhaps the prettiest pass of the playoffs from Karlsson. I was surprised at the lack of penalty minutes toward Phanuef because it was the same call Marchand took the last two games of the regular season. "We've got a few more games to go here".
There would be no scoring in the third period, sending the game to overtime.
Just over six minutes later, the Bruins got a power play resulting in David Pasternak firing a shot from just inside the face off circle that found its way past Craig Anderson to tie the game at three.
But dwelling on the defeat will do the Bruins no good. Defensively, the Ottawa Senators are allowing 2.6 goals per game and are killing 79.7 percent of their opponents power plays.
"We've got to take this, digest it, and then move on because it's in the books and all we can affect now is Wednesday's game and come out flying in that one and take control of the game for a full 60 minutes", said David Backes, who tallied the Bruins' second goal.
Burrows should know. He was with Vancouver when the Bruins beat the Canucks to capture the 2011 Stanley Cup and saw firsthand how raucous Boston fans can get.
Noel Acciari, in his first playoff game, got the ball rolling with a tip of John-Michael Liles' shot that went through Anderson's pads at 6:05. Boston comes into today's game at 45-31-8 overall and 23-17-1 at home. So, while the Bruins are tough at home and have the playoff experience, there's value in the plus money here given the history between these two teams.
The Senators struck for two goals in a span of 25 seconds in the first period. Ottawa defenceman Cody Ceci was still marvelling about captain Erik Karlsson's "saucer pass" to Mike Hoffman for Monday's first goal.
"Luckily (Hoffman) was there", Karlsson said with a smile.