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Bruins fall to Senators in overtime, eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoffs

04.23.17 at 6:16 pm ET
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Bruins Senators Noel Acciari Game 6

The Bruins and Senators skated in Game 6 at TD Garden on Sunday. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins were more than lucky to escape the first period of their must-win Game 6 against the Senators with a lead to their name. But that luck faded in and out, and ultimately led to their elimination, as the Sens defeated the Bruins by a 3-2 final in overtime.

A day and a half after the Bruins simply survived a double-overtime Game 5 in Ottawa, the Bruins shot themselves in the foot just 17 seconds into the game when Game 5’s hero, Sean Kuraly, was whistled for a puck over the glass penalty. It was the first of three puck over the glass penalties committed by the Bruins in the opening frame.

The second came from Joe Morrow, and the third from Colin Miller. But the Bruins managed to kill all three off, and cashed in on a power play of their own when Mark Stone was called for a trip on Kuraly.

With their first unit on the ice, and as the Bruins continued to look for seams on Ottawa’s Craig Anderson, a move back for Brad Marchand forced the Sens to back off the 39-goal scorer and buy into the idea of a shot. Marchand used that to the club’s advantage, too, as he went in but then shot the puck out to Drew Stafford, who had all the time in the world to rip a bullet through Anderson top corner at the 18:13 mark of the first period for his second goal of the postseason.

The Bruins survived one more mistake in the first period, too, when Tuukka Rask came up with a stop on a Stone breakaway off a David Pastrnak turnover late in the period, and the B’s held a (perhaps undeserved) 1-0 edge through 20 minutes of play.

But the toll of a first period that taxed every B’s player with a lick of defensive zone prowess was paid in the second period.

Charlie McAvoy was called for a trip for his dangerous leg-on-leg hit to Tommy Wingels just 2:49 into the second period, and the Bruins were forced into their fourth penalty kill of the night not even 23 minutes into action.

And it was Ottawa winger Bobby Ryan, who has haunted the Bruins with timely goals all season, that connected for his fourth goal of the playoffs on a perfect deflection of a Derick Brassard shot through traffic, scored at the 3:26 mark. A period of missed passes and turnovers got worse for the B’s, too, as a Stafford defensive zone turnover put the puck back on Ottawa’s blade before Kyle Turris ripped home his first goal of the playoffs just 5:06 after they tied the game on Rask and a suddenly winded B’s group.

The Bruins were not going to go down without a fight, however, and especially not without a say from a line that’s been entirely too quiet in this series, as Colin Miller caught the Sens in a bad change and found Marchand in alone at the attacking blue line. Marchand threw a shot on net, and it was Patrice Bergeron that charged in and helped bang a rebound home for a 2-2 score.

His second goal of the series, scored less than two minutes into the third period, made it an 18-minute game.

From there, the Bruins went to a 10-man forward rotation — neither Matt Beleskey nor Frank Vatrano saw shifts — and the Bruins found great point blank chances, with none better than Noel Acciari’s clear look on Anderson shortly after the Bergeron goal.

Marchand nearly connected on a one-timer 13 minutes into the third, and 34 seconds later, the B’s were on the power play.

The Senators survived the Boston power play, and with four minutes and change, the B’s and Sens remained tied.

And after 60, with the shots favoring the B’s 30-to-23, but with the score deadlocked at 2-2, it was off to overtime. Again.

In the fourth overtime of this series, and the fourth in the last five games of the series, the 30-year-old Rask came up with two big stops early, including one that nearly flubbed off his glove and into the B’s net.

But as the Bruins were stopped at one end by Anderson, a rush up towards Rask came with a Boston penalty, as Pastrnak was called for a hold on Clarke MacArthur just as Erik Karlsson crossed over into the B’s zone. And in line with the theme of the series, it was MacArthur that scored, as the Bruins were eliminated on his power-play goal 6:30 into the overtime.

This was the first time since 1998 that the Bruins failed to win a home game in a six-game series.

Bruins need home ice advantage to come through in must-win Game 6

04.23.17 at 3:06 pm ET
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The Bruins are winless in both home playoff games this round. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins are winless in both home playoff games this round. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

One of the biggest issues for the club prior to his appointment as the club’s interim head coach, Bruce Cassidy fixed the team’s near two-year-long home ice woes right out of the gate back in February.

Under Cassidy, the Bruins finished the year with the most home points in the NHL by way of an 11-4-1 record to finish their season, and outscored their opponents 52-to-29 at TD Garden. That plus-23 goal differential also ranked as the league’s best over that span.

But the Bruins have yet to see that success roll over into the playoffs, as they have dropped each postseason game played at home in their first round series with the Senators. They dropped a Patriots’ Day Game 3 by a 4-3 overtime final, and they then lost Game 4 by a 1-0 score. They weren’t the hometown beatdowns commonly suffered during the club’s two-year absence from postseason contention, but they still lacked the impact and strike-first mentality that became the status quo under Cassidy.

Another home loss would make this the first series since 1998’s first round series loss to the Capitals that they had three home playoff dates and did not win a single one. And they do not have the luxury of another home loss either, by the way, as they come into this game trailing 3-2 in this series. And after a roller coaster of a Game 5, and with the Garden expected to be absolutely deafening for today’s tilt, the Bruins know that emotion is something they can use to their advantage in this game.

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David Krejci out for Bruins-Senators Game 6; Matt Beleskey gets call over Ryan Spooner

04.23.17 at 2:21 pm ET
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The Bruins will be without David Krejci as they face elimination Sunday. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins will be without David Krejci as they face elimination Sunday. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Unsurprisingly, the Bruins will be without David Krejci for Sunday’s Game 6 against the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden. Boston coach Bruce Cassidy confirmed before the game that his second-line center will miss the game due to injury.

Krejci suffered a lower-body injury in Friday night’s Game 5 in Ottawa when Senators defenseman Chris Wideman caught him with a leg check that went unpenalized. Krejci did not return to the game.

Matt Beleskey will get into the lineup in Krejci’s place. Beleskey played two games earlier in the series and had three shots on goal, no points and four penalty minutes while averaging 8:42 time on ice.

Had Cassidy wanted to plug in another center, Ryan Spooner would’ve been a natural choice, but instead Spooner will remain on the sidelines after losing his spot in the lineup to Sean Kuraly in Game 5.

“It’s become, as we all suspected, much more of a down low, grind game, offensively for us, and that’s his strength,” Cassidy said of the decision to go with Beleskey. “He can get on people, get on pucks, win battles, get to the net. He should be afforded an opportunity to play to his strengths. It’s less of a line rush game, so now the people going in are suited to that.”

Cassidy said there could be some shuffling in terms of lines, and a couple guys who have been playing wing could be moved to center.

“We’ll move some people around in the lines,” Cassidy said. “Nothing new there. Obviously we changed things up and had to deal with it on Friday for whatever it was, four periods. Kuraly can certainly play center. He did a good job for us there the other day. [Noel] Acciari’s moved from right wing to center. [Riley] Nash and [Dominic] Moore can play center. I’m not going to be able to pinpoint exactly who will play center every shift, but that’s what we’re looking at.”

Cassidy did say that the Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak line will remain intact. He also mentioned that he liked how Kuraly and David Backes played together Friday night, so expect those two to be together, probably with Kuraly as the center. Cassidy likes keeping Moore and Nash together as well.

In other Bruins injury news, Cassidy said that while defenseman Torey Krug won’t play Sunday, he’s making progress and is closer to a return than either Brandon Carlo or Adam McQuaid.

On the Ottawa side, head coach Guy Boucher said he’ll be making a couple minor moves for Sunday’s game. Fredrik Claesson will be going in on defense in place of Wideman, so the Bruins won’t have to worry about the guy who injured Krejci.

Boucher also said Tommy Wingels will get into the lineup up front and that forward Viktor Stalberg is a game-time decision. If Stalberg is able to play, another forward would come out of the lineup.

Bruins still unhappy with ‘classless’ Sens after hit on David Krejci

04.22.17 at 3:30 pm ET
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David Krejci was injured in a knee-on-knee hit in Game 5. (James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports)

David Krejci was injured in a knee-on-knee hit in Game 5. (James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports)

The Bruins lost another player to injury on Friday night, and it came as the result of another unpenalized knee-on-knee hit that the Bruins have taken an issue with. This time, it was Ottawa defenseman Chris Wideman that knocked David Krejci out of Game 5 in the first period. The hit bothered the Bruins, of course, but not nearly as much as some of the alleged taunting that came with it.

A day later and back in Boston with their season still alive, the Bruins were still a little hot with the immediate aftermath of the hit that’s left Krejci’s status for Sunday’s Game 6 at TD Garden up in the air.

“I didn’t see [the hit], but we heard some words coming our way about it from their team and that’s never a good thing,” B’s defenseman Kevan Miller said. “I don’t know if they felt that it was like that [Krejci] was OK or that it wasn’t a bad hit. I don’t know if they felt like it wasn’t a cheapshot or something, but I don’t know. I just don’t know.”

“It just looked like the player was hovering over Krejci, and I don’t know if that’s appropriate,” said Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy, who first revealed that the Senators said something to Krejci as he limped off the ice last night. “But anyway, that’s neither here nor there to a certain extent, but I do believe it fired our guys up.”

So, what something said or was it simply posturing?

“Right after [the hit], Wideman chirped him right away,” Brad Marchand confirmed when asked about the incident and what was said to a fallen Krejci. “It’s just pretty classless to do something like that when you know you hurt a guy on the ice. Krejci is a pretty tough player, he can play through just about anything. But I guess that’s part of the game. It happens a lot out there.”

It’s the off-ice confirmation that these teams truly seem to hate each other, which is to be expected after what was a physical season series, and five straight one-goal decisions through the first week-plus of playoff hockey.

“It’s a series. You play these guys enough over and over you’re gonna learn to hate everyone and everything about them,” Joe Morrow said on Saturday. “It’s just how sports goes. You run into the same person time after time, there’s gonna be some bad blood between teams. I can’t imagine [them] saying anything good about [Krejci], so we’ll just have to retaliate like you do.”

Bruins defenseman Torey Krug (lower-body) has resumed skating

04.22.17 at 2:57 pm ET
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Torey Krug has missed all five games of this series. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Torey Krug has missed all five games of this series. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

The longer this first round hate-fueled war of a series between the Bruins and Senators goes, which was forced back to Boston for a Game 6 thanks to a double-overtime goal from Sean Kuraly on Friday night, the greater the chances that the Bruins will get at least one of their injured top-four defensemen back in action.

Both Brandon Carlo (upper-body) and Torey Krug (lower-body) have missed all five games of this series to date and without much of a change in their status, and Adam McQuaid (upper-body) was knocked out of the first period of Game 2 and has not been seen since.

But on a day away from the ice after last night’s 90-minute game, the B’s did have an update on the most sorely missed of the three.

“Krug is skating,” Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy confirmed on Saturday. “He started that process of his rehab, so he’s on the ice.”

It’s the big step that everybody has been waiting for since the moment it was reported that Krug had left TD Garden on crutches following his Apr. 6 departure against the Senators, and it’s line with the trend that Krug has displayed over that span. Although he did not travel with the Bruins for Games 1 and 2 in Ottawa, Krug could be seen around the Garden without those crutches and was walking under his own power when the series returned to Boston for Games 3 and 4 earlier this week.

But without a practice today, and without a morning skate tomorrow because of a 3 p.m. puck drop, it’s unlikely to expect No. 47 to be anything close to game ready tomorrow, so his ‘day-to-day’ status will remain the same.

Krug recorded a career-high 51 points in 81 games for the Bruins during the regular season.

Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask takes his game to another level in double-overtime win over Senators

04.22.17 at 2:09 am ET
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Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask made 41 saves in Game 5. (Marc DesRosiers/USA Today Sports)

Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask made 41 saves in Game 5. (Marc DesRosiers/USA Today Sports)

If you still think that Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask is incapable of slamming the door shut or stealing a game for the Bruins, well, continue watching these games with your eyes closed.

After the 30-year-old did everything he could to will his team to victory in a 1-0 Game 4 loss on Wednesday night, with stops on all but one of the 27 shots thrown his way, Rask cranked up the pressure and simply forced his way to a double-overtime victory in a must-win Game 5, with a season-high 41 saves in a 3-2 final for the Bruins.

And it didn’t start out that way.

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Bruins center David Krejci goes down with lower-body injury in win over Senators

04.22.17 at 1:07 am ET
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David Krejci left Friday's game with a lower-body injury. (Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports)

Bruins center David Krejci left Friday’s game with a lower-body injury. (Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports)

After missing the first two games of the series, and with a limited impact in two games since making his return to action, it’s clear that Bruins center David Krejci is playing at less than 100 percent.

The Sens knocked that percentage down a few points on Friday night when they took the crafty pivot out with an unpenalized knee-on-knee hit in the first period of a Game 5 double-overtime win for the Bruins.

Nailed by Ottawa defenseman Chris Wideman just over the Boston blue line near the left wall, Krejci crumpled to a heap before he slowly made his way up and down the tunnel for the rest of the night.

It was a kick in the head that the Black and Gold, who are already three regulars on their backend and with Ryan Spooner scratched and at ‘less than 100 percent’, did not need. But it also served as the motivation the Bruins needed to pick themselves up and get back into this game.

“I think when the hit on Krejci, you know when [the Senators] started chirping Krejci, I think the guys — that rankled them a little bit,” Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy said of his team. “It’s one thing to play hard, it’s another thing, here’s a veteran guy in the NHL, a proven performer, and a young kid starts lipping him. I think that really got to our guys to be honest with you.”

With Krejci limped back to the dressing room, the Bruins dropped down to 11 forwards and had to mix and match their centers throughout the night, but found a way to match the Sens energy on a shift-to-shift basis.

“It sort of turned the temperature up in the game from there on,” said Cassidy. “That was a break for us in that regard. It’s an unfortunate break that we lose a player, but it sort of got our attention and from there I thought we were a pretty good team.”

Senators coach Guy Boucher, meanwhile, says he has ‘no idea’ what Cassidy is talking about.

His status for Game 6 remains unknown.

“He’s lower-body, he’ll be listed as day-to-day until I hear anything different,” Cassidy said.

Limited to just 6:21 thanks to the early departure, the 30-year-old Krejci, who ranked third among B’s skaters in goals (23) and points (54) during the regular season, has zero points and three shots on goal in three games this series.

 

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