NHL Game Summary - Boston at Ottawa
(Friday, April 4th)
Final Score: Boston 2, Ottawa 1
Ottawa, ON (Sports Network) - Phil Kessel's third-period goal propelled the Boston Bruins over the Ottawa Senators, 2-1, as both clubs clinched a playoff spot during a pivotal showdown at Scotiabank Place.
Zdeno Chara also scored and Tim Thomas made 17 saves for Boston, which is 4-0-3 in its last seven games and closes out the regular season Saturday against Buffalo.
The Bruins have 94 points and are currently sixth in the Eastern Conference. They made it in to the postseason thanks in part to Florida's 4-3 win over Carolina Friday night.
"At the start of the season, our number one goal was to make the playoffs," noted Bruins head coach Claude Julien. "To accomplish that after the season we've had gives us a lot of confidence. We faced lots of controversy this year, but the guys answered the call. We didn't panic and were able to get a couple of goals from our created opportunities."
Antoine Vermette had the lone tally and Martin Gerber stopped 27-of-29 shots for the Senators, who closed out the regular season 2-5-1 in their last eight games but backdoored their way into the playoffs.
The reigning conference champs must now wait for the outcome of several other contests over the weekend to determine what seed they will hold.
The Senators played without the services of forwards Daniel Alfredsson and Mike Fisher. Both were injured in Thursday's 8-2 win in Toronto and will miss an extended period of time. Alfredsson is suffering from upper body and knee injuries, while Fisher is also down with a knee injury.
"We're excited about making the playoffs," said Sens forward Jason Spezza. "We would've preferred to win, but we can't dwell too much on one game. We have to work on cleaning up our play defensively. It doesn't matter. We got 94 points over the course of the season and that's what matters."
The Sens thought they had taken the lead under a minute into the contest, but a short video review confirmed the puck had not crossed the goal line.
The rest of the stanza was uneventful, but Boston held the edge in shots, 8-6.
Chara then gave the Bruins the first goal of the night at the 6:39 mark of the second period, as his wrist shot sailed past Gerber on the far side to make it 1-0.
Kessel put the Bruins up 2-0 with a hard shot that sailed through a crowd of players in front of the net at 4:21 of the third period.
But, Vermette was able to pull the Sens within a goal with 8:14 remaining, as he stuffed the puck between Thomas and the goalpost.
Chara's goal was his 17th of the campaign, marking a career high. He had 16 in two previous seasons...Thomas' shutout streak against the Senators ended at 176:38...The Bruins are 46-27-8-7 all-time against the Senators, the best record by any team against Ottawa...Ottawa is 8-7-2 in the second game of a back-to-back, while the Bruins are 9-6-2 in the first game...Boston won the season series, 5-3, and has won four of the last five games between the teams.
04/04 23:38:56 ET