Talking Points: Krug injury the turning point in loss
Craig Anderson was beaten on a wraparound power play goal in the first period, but that was it. He was locked in afterward and ended up making 28 saves in a stellar, clutch performance that pushed the Senators into the playoffs. He stopped Frank Vatrano on a couple of different scoring chances in the first that could have extended the lead and basically ended up winning Ottawa the game once they clamped down in the second and third periods. Then Anderson came up big in the shootout stuffing David Pastrnak, Ryan Spooner and Drew Stafford to get the all-important two points. It was a big time performance from a goalie that’s one of the most inspiring players in the NHL this season, and deserves all the success he gets.
Adam McQuaid made the key mistake in the second period when he put a puck right on the stick of Alex Burrows while trying to clear it, and then screened Tuukka Rask on the shot that tied up the game. It was the only mistake that ended up in the back of the net, but it was McQuaid and the rest of the Bruins defense that really struggled to move the puck through the neutral zone once Torey Krug was lost in the first period. So McQuaid finished with the minus-1 in 22:06 of ice time, a giveaway and three blocked shots, and very clearly was missing his D-partner in Krug once he was lost at the end of the first period.
The turning point in the game was losing Torey Krug midway through the first period as the Bruins were cruising through the 1-3-1 Senators trap and had managed 15 shots on net in the first period in an encouraging start. But once Krug was gone, Ottawa changed their attack strategy and forced the B’s undermanned D-corps to retrieve pucks without their best puck-moving defenseman, and turned Boston into a group that iced pucks and played right into Guy Boucher’s hands trying to bottle things up in the neutral zone. Once that happened, Ottawa jumped on one Adam McQuaid turnover in the second and tied up the game before going into full trap mode and playing for overtime. But the game definitely changed once Krug went down.
Drew Stafford didn’t score in the shootout, but he did produce Boston’s only goal in the first period on a power play strike. It was a nice play with Zdeno Chara tracking down the puck at the offensive blue line before the puck could get out of the zone, and then hooking up with Stafford down low aside the net. Stafford seemed to take Craig Anderson by surprise on the wraparound he stuffed inside the far post. It was the second goal in as many games for Stafford, who is heating up again offensively for the Bruins at exactly the right time with the playoffs dead ahead. In all Stafford has four goals and seven points in 17 games since being traded, but looks energized late in the season.
BY THE NUMBERS
0-8-2 – the Bruins record vs. their three potential playoff opponents (Ottawa, Toronto and Washington) headed into Saturday’s regular season finale against the Capitals at TD Garden.
QUOTE TO NOTE
“If we could have extended the lead with some of those [first period] opportunities it could have been a different game, and we could have forced them to open up a little bit. But they were able to get back into it, and that’s their type of game.” – Bruce Cassidy, after watching Frank Vatrano fail to score on several first period chances that could have handed the Bruins a bigger early lead.