|Notes and Observations Week 16: Patriots Escape from New York with 17-16 Win; Clinch First Round Bye.||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Win By Less Than a FOOT||Panic Mode in Full Effect, Minutemen are Struggling||Patriots Survive Gritty Challenge From Jets|
The Bruins dropped their fourth game in their last five, and fell to third place in their division, as Ottawa’s Brian Elliott stonewalled them with a 2-0 31-save shutout.
Boston goalie Tim Thomas lost for the first time this season his record dropped to 8-1-0.
Erik Karlsson and Daniel Alfredsson scored for the Senators, who moved ahead of the Bruins into second place with the victory.
Midway through the first, defenseman Karlsson scored on a wrister from the point, with Thomas screened by his own defenseman, Mark Stuart. It was the fifth consecutive time that the Bruins have allowed the first goal of the game.
After the goal, the Bruins got some pressure, but Elliott handled everything they fired at him. Ottawa outshot Boston 15-10 in the first period, as the Bruins continued to leave their goalies as defenseless as ducks in a shooting gallery. Boston has allowed 33 or more shots in every game this month, including 120 in the last three games.
In the second period, the Bruins picked up their intensity, drawing a couple of penalties and landing more shots on net.
On a power play midway through the period, they thought they had tied the game when Blake Wheeler slid into the crease and knocked the puck past Elliott into the net, but a video review confirmed that Wheeler pushed the puck in with his hand rather than his stick.
Jordan Caron had Boston’s next good scoring chance a few minutes later on a shorthanded breakaway, but his shot hit Elliott right in the chest logo.
Less than five minutes into the third period, the puck took an odd bounce off the Zamboni door on the boards and went right to Ottawa’s Milan Michalek, who fed a wide-open Daniel Alfredsson for an easy goal.
Boos drifted down from the rafters at around the 12-minute mark, as the Bruins showed little life.
A few minutes later, they responded, and generated some pressure. Shawn Thornton had a great chance, wide open in the slot, but his snapper was saved by Elliott.
With less than eight minutes left, 42-year-old Mark Recchi tried to fire up his teammates by getting into a fight with Chris Campoli (16 years younger) and wrestling the younger man to the ice. (Was Gordie Howe the last 42-year-old to fight in the NHL?)
The Bruins showed a bit more life after the fight, but when they had chances, they couldn’t get the puck into the net. Their shots didn’t particularly troubling Elliott– reminiscent of last season, when they finished last in the league in goals.
More boos rained down on them at the final whistle.
For the game, Ottawa outshot Boston 33-31 and also hit the goalpost twice.
Other than the big five-goal third period in Pittsburgh, the Bruins have scored four goals in their last four games.
The Bruins have now lost four of their last five games. Injured players Marc Savard, David Kreijci and Johnny Boychuk can’t get back fast enough.