BOSTON (AP) – Patrice Bergeron scored the tiebreaker late in the second third and the Boston Bruins held on Tuesday evening to beat the defeated Ottawa Senators 3-2.
Brad Marchand and Derek Forbort also scored for the Bruins, who survived a sloppy start against a team recently exhausted from COVID-19.
“We knew they were a young team that had a lot of speed and worked hard,” said Bergeron. “They gave us that. We weren’t necessarily prepared or ready for the puck, but I thought it would start after that and we played our strengths. ”
The senators, who canceled training on Monday as a precaution, were without five players and an assistant coach added to the COVID protocol list.
David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy each had two assists, and Jeremy Swayman finished with 24 saves for the Bruins, who under coach Bruce Cassidy won their 200th time and improved to 5-0 at home that season.
Zach Sanford and Nikita Zaitsev scored for Ottawa. Matt Murray stopped 33 shots for the Senators, who lost their fifth straight and eighth time in nine games.
Despite the patchwork line-up, the Senators urged the Bruins in all three periods.
“Proud of the group, with the guys that were out and the effort we made,” said Ottawa’s trainer DJ Smith. “If we continue to play with this exertion and hunger, not only will there be victories, but morale in general will be better.”
Ottawa responded after trailing 2-1 on Marchand and Forbort goals and leveling it again when Zaitsev took a shot between the right circle and the boards and shot it through Swayman and got it 2-13 : 09 was the same in the second third.
But Bergeron, who scored four goals in a win against Detroit on Thursday, brought Boston back 3-2 in the second period with 1:20 to go. A pass from Pastrnak deflected a broken stick straight at Bergeron, which restricted him for a quick wrist shot and his fifth goal of the season.
“I was hoping it wouldn’t touch him,” Bergeron said of the broken stick. “When it did that, I just wanted to make sure I could control it immediately and surprise the goalkeeper.”
The goal gave the Bruins some momentum into the closing stages, which were full of physical games and two Boston penalties that gave the Senators a chance to level. Ottaway ended up scoring six power play chances, but Smith said he liked the way his players reacted when the Bruins started beating.
“That wasn’t your typical November game,” said Smith. “I think the way we played cheered them on and it was a really good hockey game.”
The Senators overtook the Bruins early and took a 1:14 lead through a gate from Sanford. Swayman stopped Brady Tkachuk’s first shot, but the Ottawa captain fought for his own ricochet and pushed him towards Sanford when he hit the net and had plenty of room to knock the puck. It was the first goal of the season for Sanford, who hails from nearby Salem, Massachusetts.
Marchand equalized in the second period after a power play goal with 5:12, deflected a shot from Pastrnak, while Artem Zub played a penalty for a cross check on Pastrnak.
Called in by coach Bruce Cassidy for a sloppy game that resulted in a goal during a loss in Toronto on Saturday, Forbort shot down Murray with a wrist shot at 10:58 in the second half, giving Boston a 2 after a sluggish start: 1 in the lead.
Cassidy said it was nice to see the defender score for the Bruins, who relied too much on their top line of Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak.
“It’s 10 games. We need some other guys to move up,” said Cassidy.
NOTES: Cassidy is 200-86-41 behind Bruins Bank. … D Victor Mete was the newest Ottawa player to be included in the COVID-19 log on Tuesday, joining five teammates and an assistant coach who were already on the list. Ottawa had called up a handful of Bellville AHL players to complete the roster: D Erik Brannstrom, RW Scott Sabourin, LW Egor Sokolov made his NHL debut and G Filip Gustavsson was called back to support Murray. … Senators G Anton Forsberg had dropped out with a non-COVID illness.
Senators: Hosted the Los Angeles Kings Thursday night.
Bruins: Hosted the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.
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