Ottawa Senators

What We Learned: Back home is where the goals are for Spooner

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What We Learned: Back home is where the goals are for Spooner

Here’s what we learned from the Bruins' 5-0 blowout win over the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre:

1) Ryan Spooner certainly likes playing against his hometown Senators.
The speedy, skilled forward from the Ottawa suburb of Kanata, Ontario, has always played well in Ottawa, and that stayed true with a two-goal game against the Senators with his friends and family in the stands on Saturday night. Spooner has five two-goal games in his NHL career and three of them have come in Ottawa. He also has more career goals (six) vs. the Senators than against any other team in the NHL. Spooner also scored in Philadelphia this season with his dad on the father’s road trip with the Bruins players, so perhaps the team should invest in having Spooner’s friends and family with him for every one of his games. Based on the small sample size, it causes a major spike in productivity for a player that very clearly has some untapped talent that we see in games such as Saturday when he’s taking more of an aggressive, assertive approach to his game.

2)  David Krejci is vital to the functionality and productivity of the power play.
The playmaking center returned after missing the previous six games with an upper-body injury and the Bruins cranked out three power-play goals in his return. The Bruins power play had been mired in a 1-for-14 funk the previous five games without Krejci, including a shootout loss to the Capitals where the man-advantage really let them down. It was clear that adding Krejci to the second PP unit all of a sudden perked up David Backes and Charlie McAvoy, among others on that second group. They provided each of the first two PP goals with Krejci providing the primary assist on the first and actually scoring on a play crashing the net for the second PP score. In all, Krejci finished with a goal, two points and a plus-1 rating in 16:42 of ice time, along with five shots on net and 10-of-18 face-off wins. He was solid in 5-on-5 play, but it was on the power play where Krejci took a leadership role and created offense for everybody else on that second unit.

3) The Ottawa Senators and the rest of the Atlantic Division beyond Tampa, Toronto and Boston is an absolute dumpster fire.
The Bruins had some concerns about showing well against their own division opponents with so many games against the Sens, Panthers and Montreal Canadiens in the next month. Clearly, it was a point of emphasis with two games against Ottawa the past week. The Bruins applied that effort and focus to those two games and came away outscoring the beleaguered Senators by an aggregate 10-1 score in a pair of blowout wins. The B's showed no problems mastering the 1-3-1 trap while completely stomping on a team that beat them in the playoffs last season. It was so bad that at least one Senators fan tossed their sweater to the ice as the game ended in Ottawa on Saturday night. There are similar calamities playing out in Montreal, Detroit and Buffalo as well. Perhaps the Florida Panthers can still make a run as they are on life support amidst a winning streak, but it sure looks like nobody is going to catch the Bruins and Leafs for the second and third playoff seeds in the Atlantic Division. It’s crazy to say that given it’s not even January yet, but that is exactly what’s playing out this season.

PLUS
*Spooner scored a pair of goals and led the Bruins with six shots on net and played with the kind of aggressiveness and assertiveness he’s going to need in order to have success at the wing position. Spooner finished December with three goals, eight points and a plus-5 in nine games. He’s playing some of the best hockey of his Bruins career.

*Tuukka Rask finished a dominant month of December with a 25-save shutout. He and was 9-0-1 with a .955 save percentage for the month while shooting up the NHL ranks in both goals against average and save percentage. It remains to be seen where Rask is at the end of the season, but he’s been very good, along with the rest of the Bruins, the past month.

*Krejci immediately made an immediate impact on the power play helping create a couple of goals on the man-advantage and finished with a goal, two points and five shots on net in 16-plus minutes of ice time. It was impressive considering he’d missed the previous six games with an upper-body injury.

MINUS
*Erik Karlsson has enjoyed many, many dominant games against the Bruins and was the biggest driving force in defeating them in the first round of the playoffs last spring. But he wasn’t good on Saturday night with just a couple of shots on net and a minus-2 in 26-plus minutes of ice time.

*The Senators fans were apparently booing Matt Duchene Saturday and that really lets you know how they’re viewing the trade that sent away fan favorite Kyle Turris based on the simple fact that Ottawa ownership didn’t want to pay him.

*One shot on net combined between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak continues a recent stretch where both players have been very quiet offensively. It’s a good thing other Bruins have stepped up to provide some support offensively during the lull from their top forward line. 

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Talking Points: Bruins don't take foot off pedal versus Sens

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Talking Points: Bruins don't take foot off pedal versus Sens

GOLD STAR: Ryan Spooner had to move to the wing to make room for David Krejci in the lineup, but made a huge statement tonight that he wants to keep playing. His strong play fends off teammates like Anders Bjork and Frank Vatrano chomping at the bit to get back in. Spooner scored a pair of goals to earn his third career two-goal game against his hometown Senators. He played with a fantastic combination of speed and skill both during 5-on-5 play and on the power play. Spooner scored two goals, earned a plus-1 rating, and netted six shots on net in 17:07 of ice time. He now has two goals and seven points in his last seven games since coming back from injury. Perhaps the most promising signs Spooner has shown is his competitiveness, aggressive speed and assertiveness on the ice. This will keep him in the lineup for as long as that remains the case. It’s a win-win situation for the Bruins if it continues as they can utilize him as a veteran top-6 winger, and they could also decide to potentially deal him from a position of strength if he’s playing full-tilt hockey like he is right now.

 

BLACK EYE: Erik Karlsson has enjoyed some very good games against the Bruins as of late, but Saturday night was not one of them for the two-time Norris Trophy-winning defenseman. Instead it looked like there was a whole lot of resignation in the games of both Karlsson and the rest of the Senators players once things started rolling away from them in the second period. Karlsson finished a team-worst minus-2 with just two shots in net in 26 plus minutes of ice time, and had five of his seven shot attempts blocked by a Bruins team that was going all out for the win. Karlsson has elevated his game for the Senators as of late, but that wasn’t really the case in Saturday’s shutout loss.

 

TURNING POINT: The Bruins had a 1-0 lead after the opening 20 minutes, but they really pulled away in the second period against an Ottawa team that appeared to pack it in. The Bruins scored three unanswered goals in the second period, finally started getting their power play unit in sync and then totally buried the Senators underneath continuous waves of quality shifts from all four lines. The Bruins outshot the Senators by a 23-15 margin over the final 40 minutes of the game, and Ottawa could manage only four shots on net in the third period. Ottawa was left waving the white flag in a sad final 20 minutes for them. This was a tale of two hockey teams going in very different directions this season, and the Bruins clearly asserted their authority over the Sens.

 

HONORABLE MENTION: David Krejci returned after missing the last six games with an upper body injury and made an immediate impact with a goal, two points, and solid powerplay effort on Saturday night. Krejci looked no worse for the wear health-wise and had very little rust in his game as he totaled a goal, two points, a plus-1 rating, five shots on net and a 10-for-18 performance in the face-off circle. It was very clear that Krejci’s presence really elevated the man advantage and gave the Bruins exactly the kind of high wattage special teams play they’re going to need to keep carrying things offensively as they move forward.  

 

BY THE NUMBERS: 10-2-2 – The Bruins record during an excellent month of December where they climbed up the standings and ended on a high note with the blowout win over the Senators.

 

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Everyone showed up, we played well and we didn’t give them much. Offensively I thought things were clicking, and the power play was amazing from the [David] Krejci unit. It really got us going.” –Patrice Bergeron to NESN on the blowout win over the Senators that ended a 3-of-4 point performance on the two-game road trip.  

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Bruins overpower Senators 5-0

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Bruins overpower Senators 5-0

OTTAWA, Ontario -- The Boston Bruins pushed aside the reeling Ottawa Senators - again.

Ryan Spooner scored twice and Tuukka Rask made 25 saves in the Bruins' 5-0 victory over the Senators on Saturday night.

Noel AcciariDavid Krejci and Patrice Bergeron also scored for the Bruins, 5-1 winners over the Senators on Wednesday night in Boston. Rask had his second shutout of the season and 40th overall.

"We took over the game," Rask said. "Their chances came early and that's it. We scored more and we always played the same way and that's great to see. Going ahead that has to continue because that's going to reward us in the future."

Mike Condon stopped 29 shots for the Senators. Ottawa was shut out five times in December, going 4-8-2 in the month. The Senators have been outscored 14-6 in their past three games.

"It's stupidity and frustration," Senators forward Mark Stone said. "We put ourselves in terrible spots when you look at the goals that they're scoring. We're putting ourselves in terrible situations."

Boston took a 4-0 lead in the second, scoring three goals on 13 shots.

Sean Kuraly provided a screen for Acciari, who beat Condon off his backhand for a 2-0 advantage. Just over two minutes later, Ben Harpur, looking to shoot the puck in at the blue line, had his shot picked off by Spooner, who broke in alone and beat Condon through the legs.

Krejci, returning to the lineup after missing six games with an upper-body injury, then picked up Charlie McAvoy's rebound and tucked it in at the side of the net on the power play. The Bruins took a 5-0 lead in the opening minutes of the third when Bergeron tipped Torey Krug' shot for their third power-play goal of the game.

The Bruins opened the scoring at 8:13 of the first on the man advantage. After a couple of solid saves by Condon, a rebound popped right out to Spooner.

NOTES: Ottawa D Fredrik Claesson served the second game of his two-game suspension. ... Boston LW Anders Bjork, C Frank Vatrano and D Paul Postma were healthy scratches.

UP NEXT

Bruins: At New York Islanders on Tuesday night.

Senators: At Detroit on Wednesday night.

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