The Bear Cave

January 19, 2010 3:06 AM

Alfredsson, Senators Capitalize on Well-Traveled Bruins

You can chalk it up to jet lag, a time change, scheduling, or travel. However, the bottom line on Monday afternoon was that the Boston Bruins simply didn't play their best. On the other side of the ice, the visiting Ottawa Senators took full advantage of their opposition, handing the Bruins a 5-1 loss at the TD Garden. The loss was Boston's first in five head-to-head meetings with the Senators this season.

In terms of shots on goal, the first period had "afternoon game" written all over it. Neither team was very willing to shoot the puck, leading to a combined total of eight times when a goaltender was forced to react. Despite the low shot total, Ottawa managed to make the most of what it got, scoring twice on three chances.

Some end-to-end action led to the first Senators' goal of the contest at the 7:39 mark of the opening stanza. Blake Wheeler missed the net wide, springing Mike Fisher in the opposite direction on the right side of the ice. Fisher gained the offensive blueline, before backhanding a pass ahead to Alex Kovalev in the slot. Kovalev put the puck on his backhand, beating Tim Thomas through the legs.

Ottawa's next shot of the period didn't come until a little less than seven minutes later, and the result was the same. Derek Morris pinned Chris Phillips against the end boards, but Mike Fisher swooped in to pick up the loose puck. Fisher turned out of the right corner, spotting Daniel Alfredsson for a one-timer from the right circle. Alfredsson picked the top-left corner of the goal, giving his club a 2-0 lead after one period of play.

The score stayed that way for the first half of the second period. At that point, Daniel Alfredsson became the star of the show, blowing the game open. Mike Fisher won an offensive zone face-off to Erik Karlsson, whose point shot got blocked away by Thomas. Fisher chased down the loose puck, dishing a pass across the blueline to Filip Kuba. Kuba thought about shooting, but managed to find Alfredsson skating in on the left side. Alfredsson kept his stick on the ice, redirecting the puck in for his second tally of the day.

The Senators' third goal brought an end to the game for Tim Thomas, who was pulled in favor of Tuukka Rask.

Rask didn't exactly get the warmest greeting, as Mark Recchi picked up a minor for elbowing, as well as a minor for unsportsmanlike conduct, putting Ottawa on the power play for four minutes. The Senators' captain knew exactly what to do with the opportunity, finishing off his natural hat trick. Daniel Alfredsson and Filip Kuba exchanged passes on the left side of the ice, with Alfredsson ultimately ending up with the puck at the blueline. With bodies lining up in the slot, the forward let a slap shot go, beating Rask on his glove side.

Shots on goal were even at 11-11 during the middle frame, but the Bruins were in a major hole, trailing 4-0 on the scoreboard.

Early in the third period, Boston finally broke Brian Elliott's shutout bid. Milan Lucic dug the puck free out of the right corner of the offensive zone, before passing back to Johnny Boychuk at the point. Boychuk tried sending a one-timer through, but his shot was blocked by the defense. However, the rebound of the blocked shot deflected over to Daniel Paille, who made no mistake in burying his sixth goal of the season.

Leading by three at the midway mark of the third, Ottawa had the last laugh in this tilt, adding one more insurance marker. Dennis Wideman skated the puck back in his own zone, but lost control after a collision with referee Dan O'Rourke. The play resulted in a turnover, and Jonathan Cheechoo took advantage, backhanding a shot through Rask.

The Bruins killed off a pair of penalties after Cheechoo's goal to prevent any further insult, but the damage had already been done. The Senators had themselves a 5-1 victory on the road.

For the first time in six career games against Boston, Brian Elliott picked up the win, making 22 saves on 23 shots for the Senators. Tim Thomas suffered the loss for the Bruins, allowing three goals on nine shots in 30:04. Tuukka Rask stopped 15 of the 17 shots he faced in relief, receiving a no-decision.

Monday marks the second day in a row that a Bruins' team has allowed a hat trick, as the Providence Bruins gave up three goals to Jacob Micflikier in a 4-1 loss to Albany on Sunday.

Speaking of the Baby B's, the American Hockey League held the 2010 Skills Competition on Monday in Portland, ME. Mikko Lehtonen and Andy Wozniewski were Providence's two representatives. Team Canada defeated Planet USA 18-12. The fastest skater was Hartford's Bobby Sanguinetti. The hardest shot was taken by Norfolk's Blair Jones. Jon Matsumoto of Adirondack was the most accurate shooter. Hamilton's Cedrick Desjardins took home top goaltender honors. The All-Star game takes place at 6:00 on Tuesday.

The Boston Bruins' next game is on Thursday night, when they play host to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Scoring Summary:

1. OTT Kovalev (12) (Fisher) 7:39
1. OTT Alfredsson (11) (Fisher, Phillips) 14:24
2. OTT Alfredsson (12) (Kuba, Fisher) 10:04
2. OTT Alfredsson (13) (Kuba, Foligno) (PP) 13:14
3. BOS Paille (6) (Boychuk, Lucic) 4:23
3. OTT Cheechoo (5) (Unassisted) 11:05

Penalty Summary:
1. BOS Stuart- Hooking 9:27
2. OTT Volchenkov- High Sticking 2:43
2. BOS Boychuk- High Sticking 6:02
2. BOS Recchi- Elbowing 11:56
2. BOS Recchi- Unsportsmanlike Conduct 11:56
2. OTT Neil- Tripping 16:04
3. BOS Stuart- Interference 12:56
3. BOS Morris- Slashing 13:59

OTT Brian Elliott (11-11-3): 23 shots, 22 saves
BOS Tim Thomas (13-12-6): 9 shots, 6 saves
BOS Tuukka Rask (entered at 10:04 2nd): 17 shots, 15 saves

Shots on Goal:

OTT 3-11-12=26
BOS 5-11-7=23

Power Plays:
OTT 1-for-6
BOS 0-for-2

Three Stars of the Game:

1- OTT Daniel Alfredsson
2- OTT Mike Fisher
3- OTT Filip Kuba

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