OTTAWA — At first it looked like an unexpected hero had rescued the Boston Bruins Thursday night at Scotiabank Place.
Upon further review, it was just another important goal scored by defenseman Dennis Seidenberg.
His blast from the point with 64 seconds left in regulation time gave the Bruins a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators, stopping Boston’s first losing streak of the season at two games.
It was the first goal of the current campaign for Seidenberg, who has just 31 in 562 NHL games. Interestingly, six of Seidenberg’s 15 goals over four seasons as a Bruin have been game winners.
“I take every goal,” said the 31-year-old, whose shot was teed up by blue line partner Zdeno Chara after Patrice Bergeron won the faceoff to the left of Senators goalie Robin Lehner. “The moment of the game was perfect, one minute to go. Couldn’t be better.
“Zee pushed it over. I tried to get it on net. Somehow, I think he didn’t see it. He just went down in a butterfly and it went over his pad.”
It was only the second regulation time defeat in 15 home games for the Senators, who entered the evening having won three in a row. But as warm as they were, they still couldn’t shake free of the hold the B’s have on them. Boston has now won 11 straight games in Canada’s capital.
“Against this team you always have to play 60 minutes, a full game,” said Senators coach Paul MacLean, whose team had a 1-0 lead on a goal by Kaspars Daugavins until it was erased by Daniel Paille with 1:22 left in the second period. “I thought at times, at the end of the second period and the end of the game, we stopped playing a little bit. That ends up being the difference in the game.
“Against the Boston Bruins, we have to play the whole game, play every shift, from start of the shift to the end of the shift. They did a better job of that.”
A more pressing matter for the Senators is the status of defenseman Sergei Gonchar, who left the game with about eight minutes left and did not return.
Gonchar, the team’s leading scorer with 21 points, would join an injured list that already has six of the team’s best players, including three blue liners, if he has to miss any time.
“At this point I’m not too concerned about it,” said MacLean. “He just left the game it tightened up. We’re going to evaluate it overnight and see what happens.”
Veteran defenseman Chris Phillips could only shake his head at the Senators injury woes.
“You wonder when it’s going to end,” he said. “There’s nothing we can do about it. We have to push on. The guys who have stepped in have done a great job.”
Anton Kudobin made 27 saves in the Boston net while Lehner blocked 27 Bruins shots.
Daugavins’ goal was his first of the season.
“I think we can live with a couple of losses if we outbattle teams and at least show that we have that effort,” said Paille, whose goal was his sixth. “But we didn’t see that those past games.
“To lose three in a row, we definitely didn’t want. It was good to see the second effort tonight for most of the game.”
NOTES: The Bruins’ league-leading penalty-killing unit did not get any work at all, as the Senators went the entire game without a power play. Boston was 0-for-2 with the man advantage. … Gonchar’s assist on Daugavins’ goal gave him a helper in a franchise-record nine straight games. The streak is the longest of his 18-year career and the longest in the NHL this season. … The Senators were without stalwart defenseman Marc Methot, who suffered a knee injury Tuesday in Long Island. “He’s probably for Saturday,” said MacLean, whose team hosts the Tampa Bay Lightning next. … The Bruins were without defenseman Adam McQuaid, who suffered an arm injury in Winnipeg Tuesday. Taking his place was Aaron Johnson, who has been a healthy scratch in all but six games this season. … Playing his third NHL game was Bruins center Ryan Spooner, who grew up 10 minutes from Scotiabank Place. He recorded one shot on net in 8:17 of ice time.
Canadiens 5, Islanders 2: Brian Gionta scored the tie-breaking goal 48 seconds into the third period and the Montreal Canadiens added two more goals in the final 20 minutes as they pulled away from the New York Islanders, 5-2, at Nassau Coliseum.
David Desharnais set up the goal by snaring a puck out of the air, placing it on the ice and dishing to Gionta, who managed to put enough of his stick on the puck to send it past Kevin Poulin.
Brendan Gallagher provided insurance for the Canadiens by scoring two goals in a span of just 33 seconds later in the period. Michael Ryder and P.K. Subban scored power play goals in the first and second period, respectively.
The Canadiens’ third period outburst assured they would avoid a season sweep at the hands of the Islanders, who have accounted for two of Montreal’s five losses since Feb. 9. The Canadiens are 14-1-4 in that stretch, including their lone regulation loss to the Islanders on March 5 as well as an overtime defeat at the hands of the Islanders in Montreal on Feb. 21.
With the win, the Canadiens ensured they’d remain at least two points ahead of the Bruins in the Northeast while also gaining ground on the idle Penguins in the race for the No. 1 seed in the East. With 45 points, Montreal is just one point behind Pittsburgh, which puts its 10-game winning streak on the line when it visits the Islanders Friday.
Goalie Carey Price made 25 saves for the Canadiens.