Bruins mop up against Senators
OTTAWA — The 5-0 win by the Boston Bruins over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night was a perfect example of the direction the teams are heading as 2017 draws to a close.
The Bruins (21-10-6) have won six of their past seven games, have points in eight straight and are working their way up the Atlantic Division standings as they are now tied for second with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Senators (12-17-8) have lost five of their past six and have just seven wins in 25 games since the start of November. They are 15th in the Eastern Conference, ahead of only the Buffalo Sabres, and by just four points.
Ottawa has been shut out five times this month and is 12 points out of a playoff spot.
Ryan Spooner had two goals and an assist and David Krejci had a goal and an assist to lead the Bruins while Tuukka Rask made 25 saves for his second shutout of the season.
“He’s on his game and focused. He made the saves he had to. Early on they had some jump,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said of Rask, who has allowed just three goals in his last four starts.
“We had a stretch there where we weren’t as good as we needed to be, but we got through it quickly and he made the saves and off we went.”
Noel Acciari and Patrice Bergeron also scored for the Bruins.
Mike Condon made 29 saves in the loss, but the Senators were unable to continue with the momentum they built with a 5-4 comeback win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.
Spooner opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 8:13 of the first period after Derick Brassard was issued a slashing penalty.
Senators coach Guy Boucher was happy with the way his team came out in the first period but wasn’t pleased with the call on Brassard.
“We had a very good first period. It was an equal first period and the only goal they got was off a penalty we didn’t deserve, so that should have been a 0-0 period,” Boucher said.
“It was the goals after that. Two goals five-on-five were our mistakes, but once you get to two and three on a back-to-back, the mountain gets bigger and bigger.”
Those goals came when the Bruins opened things up in the second period, scoring three times on 12 shots to take a 4-0 lead.
Acciari put the Bruins up 2-0 at 3:29 when he took a short pass from Torey Krug and put a backhand past Condon from the top of the crease.
Spooner scored his second of the game 5:38 on a breakaway after blocking a shot at his own blue line before racing the length of the ice and finishing the play with a backhander.
Krejci closed out the second-period scoring with a power-play goal at 13:39 when he banked a shot off Condon and in after the original shot bounced off the end boards and right to Krejci at the side of the goal.
The onslaught continued with another power-play goal at 1:11 of the third period when Bergeron fired a shot off the post and in behind Condon.
“This needed to stop about a month-and-a-half ago. We’ve put ourselves in a hole where we need a fantastic run and we need some help,” Senators forward Mark Stone explained.
“We’ve put ourselves in a deep hole. We’re coming to the rink and working hard, so I don’t think it’s work ethic. I think it’s stupidity. We’re putting ourselves in terrible situations.”
The Bruins finished 3 of 4 on the power play with 11 shots. The Senators were unsuccessful in their only power-play opportunity, but they did have three shots on Rask.
“We’re playing as a team. That’s the biggest thing. I’m very happy to see,” Rask said.
“We took over the game. Their chances came early, that’s it. We scored more and we always played the same way. That’s great to see. Going ahead, that has to continue because it’s going to reward us in the future.”
NOTES: D Fredrik Claesson was a scratch for the Senators as he served the second game of a two-game suspension. Anders Bjork, Paul Postma and Frank Vatrano were the scratches for the Bruins. ... F David Krejci made his return to the Boston lineup after missing six games with an upper-body injury. ... Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said D Adam McQuaid needs more practice time before returning to action from a broken right fibula suffered in October.