The Bear Cave

January 24, 2010 4:37 AM

Skid Continues, as Bruins Fall to Ottawa

While injuries have certainly played a major factor for most of the season, it's pretty safe to say that the Boston Bruins are in a slump. For the better part of the first half, Boston did a decent job battling those injuries, holding on to fifth place in the Eastern Conference. However, entering Saturday afternoon's game, the Bruins had dropped six of their previous seven tilts, while being in danger of falling out of the top eight playoff spots.

On Sunday morning, Boston will wake up on the outside looking in. Saturday afternoon saw the Bruins drop a frustrating 2-1 decision to the Ottawa Senators, while Saturday night featured wins by the Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens. The Eastern Conference Standings have tightened so much that sixth place and thirteenth place are separated by just three points.

For an early afternoon game, Saturday's contest got off to a relatively rapid start. The two teams combined for a total of 23 shots on goal during the first period, getting the goaltenders into the game right away. The best performance of the period came during Ottawa's lone power play, as the visitors fired six shots onto Tim Thomas. The Bruins' netminder stood his ground, while also being helped out by the post on an Alex Kovalev bid.

However, Thomas was unable to keep the game tied, as the Senators opened the scoring with just six seconds left in the opening stanza. Mark Recchi fired the puck off of the boards and into the neutral zone, but Ottawa had enough time to attempt one final rush. Matt Carkner quickly moved the puck forward to Nick Foligno, who touched a pass to Daniel Alfredsson in the offensive zone. Recchi and Zdeno Chara went to hit Foligno, opening up a skating lane for Alfredsson. The Senators' captain brought the puck in on goal, slipping a shot between the legs of Thomas.

Ottawa carried the lead into the second period, but at the 8:26 mark, the Bruins got the equalizer. Tim Thomas gathered the puck in behind his own cage, flipping the puck ahead to Daniel Paille on the left side. Paille tried to connect with Mark Recchi in center ice, but the puck deflected back to Patrice Bergeron. Bergeron looked up and found Paille skating in toward the offensive zone. Paille took the puck to the top of the left circle, blasting a slap shot over Brian Elliott's glove. The goal was Paille's third in five games, as well as his second in as many tilts against the Senators.

With just under eight minutes remaining in the middle frame, Boston nearly took the lead. Dennis Wideman sent a pass low for Daniel Paille, who centered the puck into the crease. Mark Recchi redirected the puck into the net, but after video review, the goal was called back due to Recchi's kicking motion.

Later in the period, the Senators took advantage of the bullet they dodged, scoring to retake the lead. Alex Kovalev picked up the puck in his own zone, and proceeded to turn on the jets as he skated up the right side of the ice. After crossing the blueling, Kovalev hesitated, waiting for Jason Spezza to join the play in the middle. Kovalev hit Spezza with a perfect pass, and Spezza wired a wrist shot over Thomas' blocker for the go-ahead goal.

Before all was said and done in the second, Ottawa almost had a two-goal edge. Daniel Alfredsson took a wrist shot from the point, and Mike Fisher deflected it into the net. However, after video review, it was deemed that Fisher's stick was above the crossbar, thus negating the goal.

The third period was all Bruins, as the home team fired 13 shots on goal, while only allowing two. Unfortunately for them, Brian Elliott saved his sharpest performance for the third, keeping Boston off of the scoreboard, while securing the victory for his club. In the game, Elliott made 32 saves on 33 shots, picking up his second straight win over Boston. For the Bruins, Tim Thomas suffered the tough loss, despite allowing just two goals on 23 shots.

The Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators have now completed their six-game season series, with the Bruins winning four of the six meetings. Unfortunately for Boston, the two losses could not have come at a much tougher time, as the team is going through a major slump in January.

On Sunday afternoon, the Boston Bruins will play their second game in as many days, as they visit the Carolina Hurricanes. While there are still a lot of games left on the schedule, this is an important game for the Bruins, as they could reestablish playoff positioning, while also ending on a positive with four days off this coming week.

Scoring Summary:

1. OTT Alfredsson (14) (Foligno, Carkner) 19:54
2. BOS Paille (7) (Bergeron, Wideman) 8:26
2. OTT Spezza (6) (Kovalev) 16:39

Penalty Summary:
1. BOS Satan- Hooking 13:01
2. OTT Kuba- Interference 12:55

OTT Brian Elliott (14-11-3): 33 shots, 32 saves
BOS Tim Thomas (13-13-6): 23 shots, 21 saves

Shots on Goal:
OTT 14-7-2=23
BOS 9-11-13=33

Power Plays:
OTT 2-for-3
BOS 1-for-3

Three Stars of the Game:

1- OTT Daniel Alfredsson
2- BOS Daniel Paille
3- OTT Erik Karlsson

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