OTTAWA — Just 24 hours after being schooled by the top team in their division, the Ottawa Senators exacted some revenge on home ice.
Winger Bobby Ryan scored the tie-breaker with 4:35 left in the third period and Ottawa held on to defeat the Boston Bruins 4-3 Saturday night at the Canadian Tire Centre.
One night earlier, the Bruins overcame a slow start to blank the Senators 5-0 at TD Bank Garden.
“The vocal leaders of our team said the right things [before the game],” said Ryan. “Tonight was one of the first nights I think we found a way to tell ourselves we weren’t going to be denied and it showed.
“It’s a redemption game. It’s answering the bell from the previous night when you got almost manhandled by a team. It certainly feels good.”
Defenseman Patrick Wiercioch, winger Cory Conacher and center Zach Smith also scored for the Senators. Bruins goals were scored by defenseman David Warsofsky, winger Jarome Iginla and winger Daniel Paille.
Playing without top defensemen Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, the Bruins battled back from a 3-1 deficit that was established early in the second period.
Ryan’s team-leading 18th of the season was a brilliant solo effort, as he stole the puck from Bruins defenseman Tory Krug at the Ottawa blue line and finished off a breakaway with a backhand shot after deking Bruins goaltender Chad Johnson to the ice.
It was the only goal given up by Johnson, who made 17 saves after replacing Tuukka Rask when the Bruins No. 1 goalie allowed three goals on 11 shots.
“We had a lot of stuff happen today, and a lot of scrambling to get players here on time and everything else,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “With all of that happening I think the guys responded well.”
The Senators survived a late penalty to Smith, which allowed the Bruins to pull their goalie and have a six-on-four advantage in skaters for the final two minutes.
Goalie Craig Anderson, who ended up with 29 saves, was particularly strong in the dying moments. Anderson received some shot blocking support from the team’s penalty killers in the dying moments.
“It’s a credit to our guys paying the price with their bodies to make sure we won the game,” said Anderson, who was also proud of the way his team bounced back from the loss. “It’s not about what happens to you, it’s how you respond. We came out here and we responded in the right way. Now the key is we have to respond again, keep getting better going forward. It’s hard work and it’s a long road but you’ve got to stay with it.”
Playing in his fourth NHL game, Warsofsky scored his first goal with a wrist shot from the right wing circle at 6:36 of the third to tie the game at 3.
Iginla, who tapped in his 12th of the season after a nice setup by winger Milan Lucic to start the comeback in the second period, appeared to tie it up earlier in the third. But after a review, it was ruled he had kicked the puck in the net.
“When it was 3-1, I thought the guys mentally still felt that next goal was a big goal,” said Iginla. “We weren’t going to quit. We found a way to get ourselves back into it on the road. That’s the way back to backs go … you lose the first one and you’re desperate.
“They came out and they were strong early. I thought we found a way to get ourselves back in a pretty good position in the third period. We had some good momentum, and some good chances, guys were working hard. It just didn’t go our way there.”
The win left the Senators with a 16-18-7 mark as they hit the halfway point of their schedule. With their second win in two games against the Bruins this season, they moved to within four points of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the race for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Bruins, who are 26-11-2, have a four-point lead on the second place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division. They are also three points back of Pittsburgh in the battle for the conference lead.