On Tuesday night, the Boston Bruins top line had another dominant performance against the Ottawa Senators, winning 4-1 at the Canadian Tire Centre. David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand all enjoyed a productive night, combining for a total of eight points.
“Like I’ve said, I think they’re the best line in hockey. They proved that again tonight”, Senators head coach Guy Boucher said following the game. “One-on-one they’ll beat you, they’re good because they know where each other is, so they can make a play out of nothing, as we saw tonight, and they beat us again. That’s where that line is so dominant it changes the game one point or another and we were unable to stop it”.
Boston has outscored Ottawa 10-4 in two games so far this year, and incredibly, their top line has managed to record a combined 19 points. Pastrnak leads with eight (4G, 4A), Bergeron follows with seven (4G, 3A), and Marchand has four (0G, 4A). Whether at TD Garden in Boston or Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, it doesn’t seem to matter. This line is a force to be reckoned with. On the season, Bergeron is tied for the NHL lead in points with 16 (7G, 9A) in nine games with Pastrnak and Marchand trailing by only one and three points, respectively.
With their loss, the Senators record falls to 4-3-1 this season, while the Bruins improve to 5-2-2 with their win.
The Boston Benchmark
If the Senators can somehow find a way to shut down this line, they would have the ability to potentially shut down any team’s offence. That is the ‘Boston benchmark’ the Senators are testing themselves against early in the season.
On Tuesday, the Senators defence did what they could with what they had to contain those dangerous three Bruins. Ottawa’s starting lineup consisted of Zack Smith, Tom Pyatt, Magnus Paajarvi, Mark Borowiecki, and Christian Jaros, a mix of players known for their defensive play and big hits. Boucher did his best to match this line up against Boston’s firepower but penalty trouble spoiled his plans, which were working well until late in the second. “The Smitty line was playing against them most of the time but when we weren’t able to get that line on, we got scored on”, Boucher observed.
Ottawa’s defence has also been thinned by injuries, and it does not help to have edgy and responsible defensive players like Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Brady Tkachuk, and Ben Harpur on the sidelines. So far, the young and rebuilding Senators are still searching for a sound defensive solution against the Bruins lethal top line.
In terms of offence, the Senators actually outplayed Boston in a number of categories, despite only having one goal to show for their efforts. Ottawa outshot Boston 39-32 and generated plenty of scoring chances throughout the game. Boucher had no issue with these efforts: “I thought we had a terrific second period. We were aggressive, we were fast, we were charging, we were attacking hard. I thought we defended real well that second period, we deserved that goal, the power play was playing really good. We had over 15 shots on the power play tonight.”
In addition, the Senators ran into a solid Bruins goaltender named Tuukka Rask, who earned the game’s first star of the night with a 1.00 goals-against average and .974 save percentage.
The Senators did not help themselves when they ran into major penalty trouble late in the second period. The quick back-to-back calls came just as Ottawa was building some energy sparked from a Thomas Chabot power play goal, as well as a fight and big hit delivered by Smith. Smith fought and won the fight against Marchand, following a thunderous hit he delivered on Matt Grzelcyk in the Boston zone.
The first penalty was a holding infraction against Alex Formenton with 1:33 remaining in the period. 38 seconds later, Ottawa received a bench minor for too many men on the ice. With the game tied 1-1, the Bruins won the draw in Ottawa’s zone and made quick work of the two-man advantage, as David Krejci scored 4 seconds later in the final minute of the period.
The home crowd was silenced and the momentum swung for Boston. The Bruins followed up by striking again on the power play only 21 seconds into the third period. The score was suddenly 3-1 before many of the fans had returned to their seats from the second intermission. After the game, Boucher admitted these penalties played a major role in the Senators loss: “Obviously when it’s five on three and they put it in, and they score again on the power play to start the period, those are tough to deal with for sure.”
The most impressive goal of the night was unquestionably Pastrnak’s second of the game, which made it 4-1. Although Pastrnak registered the tally, the jaw-dropping moment was when Marchand made a spectacular move, completely fooling Senators defenceman Dylan DeMelo. Entering the Senators zone on the attack, Marchand was one-on-one with DeMelo when he toe-dragged the puck, turning the Ottawa defenseman inside out. Once past the confused defender, Marchand also tricked Craig Anderson with a quick pass to Pastrnak, who hammered the puck into a yawning net, with the goalie out of position.
- Formenton returned to the Senators lineup after missing 3 games due to a concussion.
- Harpur was added to the Senators injury list. Jaros was recalled from Belleville (AHL) to replace him.
- Notably, the Bruins were missing David Backes, Charlie McAvoy, Torey Krug, and Kevan Miller from their line-up.
- This is the second matchup of the season between the Senators and Bruins. Ottawa lost their first matchup to Boston on Canadian Thanksgiving, 6-3. Ottawa is 0-2-0 against Boston this year, with two more games remaining against their Atlantic Division opponent in the 2018-19 campaign.
- In the second period, former Senator Zdeno Chara released a cannon slap shot that snapped Colin White’s stick in half… luckily for White and the Senators, the shot missed both of White’s hands.
- The Senators concluded their five-game homestand with a winning record of 3-2-0 and six of 10 points.
Official 3 Stars of the Game
1) Tuukka Rask, Boston (1.00 GAA, .974 SV%)
2) Patrice Bergeron, Boston (1G, 2A)
3) Thomas Chabot, Ottawa (1G)
The Senators hit the road for a three-game trip through southwest America, starting with a game against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center in Denver on Friday, October 26.
|1||Boston||1-0||11:17||David Pastrnak (9)||Danton Heinen (2), David Krejci (6)|
|2||Ottawa [PPG]||1-1||17:51||Thomas Chabot (3)||Bobby Ryan (4), Mark Stone (3)|
|2||Boston [PPG]||2-1||19:09||David Krejci (2)||David Pastrnak (4), Patrice Bergeron (8)|
|3||Boston [PPG]||3-1||19:39||Patrice Bergeron (5)||David Pastrnak (5), Matt Grzelcyk (5)|
|3||Boston||4-1||5:31||David Pastrnak (9)||Brad Marchand (11), Patrice Bergeron (9)|
Cover Photo Credit: Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press
Billy Morrison covers the Ottawa Senators and the Atlantic Division for Full Press Coverage. Follow Billy on Twitter, @BillyMorrison01.