Talking Points: Chara & Bruins go missing in big spot

Talking Points: Chara & Bruins go missing in big spot

GOLD STAR: Sens center Zack Smith finished with two goals scored, a plus-3 rating and three shots on net in 17:20 of ice time, and gladly took advantage of a number of defensive gaffes from the Bruins all over the ice. Smith finished with 25 goals in an excellent season for Ottawa, and had a great tip on an Erik Karlsson slap-pass that ended up being the winning goal for the Senators. He added the final empty netter in the third period that gave the Ottawa the lopsided win, and put together an impressive season that will be something to build on for next season. It’s also fitting that a gritty forward-type was such a big factor in a game where the B’s showed little grit, determination or desire with their playoff lives on the line.

BLACK EYE: No hits. No blocked shots. There was nothing even approaching a penalty for playing aggressively. One shot on net. Boy, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara really emptied the bucket today with their playoff lives on the line against a Sens team playing out the string. In fact you barely noticed Chara in his 25:42 of ice time, and he was on the ice for the Zack Smith game-winner in the second period as things started falling apart for Boston. The 39-year-old defenseman certainly deserves some sympathy because he’s been playing hard minutes at a high level for weeks now, but the Bruins also ended things at home with days off in-between games. Chara should have been one of Boston’s best players today, and he was nowhere close to that.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins were leading 1-0 after the opening 20 minutes, but had been outshot 17-10 while being largely outplayed after their early goal. One might have expected them to elevate their level of play in the second period, but instead the Senators kicked the B’s teeth in as they choked hard in a must-win game. The Senators scored four goals in the span of 10 minutes to completely discombobulate the Black and Gold and the Bruins were never able to recover over the final 30 minutes. The lack of composure, execution and guts in a big game has been a problem for this Bruins team all season, and it showed up again on Saturday.

HONORABLE MENTION: While there were some defensive mistakes made by David Pastrnak, give the youngster credit for being one of the only players to show up for the Bruins in a must-win game for the playoffs. Pastrnak scored early for the second consecutive game and showed off the skill with a top-shelf shot after a nice pass from Brad Marchand set him up on a breakaway. He also finished with four shots on net and seven total shot attempts in 13:48 of ice time as one of Boston’s most effective offensive players. The 15 goals scored for Pastrnak were solid given all of the time he missed with injuries and the World Junior tournament, and it’s just too bad that it looks like the teenager will miss out on the Stanley Cup playoffs for a second straight season as well.

BY THE NUMBERS: 17-18-6 – the final regular season record for the Bruins at TD Garden this season, which is sure to be a major bone of contention with season ticket holders being asked to pay big bucks to watch games in that building.

QUOTE TO NOTE:  "I don’t know if we thought it was going to be an easy night, or what. It was just sad to us play the way we did with things in our hands. We were trying to give ourselves a chance at the playoffs, and we just didn’t...I don’t know what else to say.” –Torey Krug, among a chorus of Bruins players that seemed at a loss for words after this one was over. 

Erik Karlsson and wife Melinda mourn death of their son

File Photo

Erik Karlsson and wife Melinda mourn death of their son

The Ottawa Senators announced Tuesday that team captain Erik Karlsson and his wife Melinda lost their son one month before his due date.


"The collective thoughts and prayers of the Ottawa Senators organization, the city of Ottawa and entire hockey community rest with Erik and Melinda Karlsson following the loss of their son.

We ask that you respect the family's wishes for privacy during the grieving process."

The couple announced via Instagram in November that they were expecting, and the CBC reports the baby was due in April.

Sens head coach Guy Boucher spoke about the tragedy after Ottawa's game vs the Panthers on Tuesday (1:36 mark in video below).

Karlsson, a rumored Bruins target before the trade deadline, received heartfelt condolences from the hockey world on Twitter:

Our thoughts too go out to Erik and Melinda during this incredibly difficult time.


Morning Skate: Best all-time college hockey lineups

NBC Sports Boston Photo

Morning Skate: Best all-time college hockey lineups

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while welcoming in spring with open arms.


*Interesting exercise from ESPN putting together the best all-time lineups for a number of college hockey programs. We know about a lot of the powerhouse programs, but UVM could put together a pretty damn good lineup based on the players that have come out of the Catamounts program, including former and current Bruins Tim Thomas and Kevan Miller.


*Jack Eichel scoffs at the notion that his ankle injury should have caused the Sabres star to shut it down for the rest of the season.


*Nice work by Star Wars Rebels showrunner Dave Filoni to put together a Star Wars jersey again this season for the Wilkes Barre Scranton Penguins.


*Rob Rossi has got some major issues with ESPN the Magazine omitting Sidney Crosby from their Most Dominant Athletes of the last 20 years list. Yeah, I’d say that doesn’t make any sense. Not that anybody really cares about ESPN the Magazine or anything.


*Strange times with the CWHL as Cassie Campbell Pascal has resigned from her role as a CWHL Governor ahead of the league’s marquee weekend.


*The Golden Knights and Marc-Andre Fleury are both tied together in their rise toward the top of the NHL this season.


*For something completely different: Never before has a mustache been talked about as much as the CGI mustache for Henry Cavill in Justice League, and now it’s gone forever.