OTTAWA — In the shootout Monday night at Scotiabank Place, after both teams had scored a goal, Kaspars Daugavins took his turn to fire on Tuukka Rask. Unfortunately, the audio team at the Ottawa rink did not play Barnum & Bailey’s Favorite upon Daugavins’s approach.
Daugavins turned his stick over and pushed the puck forward with the toe of his blade. As Daugavins got closer to the net, the forward turned, pulled off a spin-o-rama, and snapped a shot on goal. Rask calmly kicked out Daugavins’s attempt with his left pad.
“It’s like every other penalty shot, I guess,” Rask said with a shrug. “You have to stay patient. He came really close and kind of crashed into me there.”
David Krejci attempted no such circus act. Krejci zoomed in on Robin Lehner and snapped the puck over the goalie’s glove to give the Bruins a 3-2 shootout win. There was no truth to the rumor that Daugavins left the rink wearing a clown’s red nose.
“This is what shootouts are all about. Guys can attempt anything,” said coach Claude Julien. “I have no issues with that. He almost scored. Our goaltender stuck his pad out. There was nothing illegal about it. Those are things that fans are probably excited about. They’re going to talk about it for a long time. I see no issue with that.”
To start the night, the shootout was the last place the Bruins figured to be. For most of the first period, the Bruins were on decaf. Adam McQuaid couldn’t handle a bouncing puck in center ice, which led to Guillaume Latendresse’s game-opening breakaway strike just 55 seconds into the first period.
Then when Johnny Boychuk tried to start the breakout by rimming the puck around the boards, Nathan Horton coughed it up. Chris Phillips applied pressure by pinching down the wall, forcing Horton to fumble the puck away to Kyle Turris. After the center fired the puck past Rask at 7:18, Julien called his timeout. His message was clear: Wake up.
“I thought we were a little sluggish,” Julien said. “We were slow in our execution and everything else. They came out extremely strong. We weren’t ready for that. We should have been.”
For the second straight game, the Bruins looked to their pluggers for offensive assistance.
The top two lines, centered by Krejci and Patrice Bergeron, have carried the offense for most of the season. That wasn’t the case against the Senators. The Ottawa defense, led by Phillips and Marc Methot, didn’t give the Bruins’ skilled forwards much room to create in the offensive zone.
So the Bruins turned to Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell, and Shawn Thornton to assume the load.
“The last few games, you could see the third and fourth lines — you could call it secondary scoring — have been huge for us,” defenseman Zdeno Chara said.
The Senators were less than a minute away from taking a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. But Thornton, from a sharp angle, flipped a puck on goal. The puck somehow wobbled through Lehner (33 saves) at 19:16 of the first. The late goal delivered the jolt the Bruins needed.
“To get us back within a goal before the end of the period was something I thought was a big turning point in the game,” Julien said. “It gave us some momentum going into the second period.”
The Bruins tied the score at 8:53 of the second. Paille had just hopped over the boards to replace Brad Marchand. At first, Paille skated toward the defensive zone. Zach Smith had just wheeled around the Boston net.
But when Krejci recovered the puck down low, Paille slammed on the brakes. Before Methot and Andre Benoit could recover, Paille had slipped behind the Ottawa defensemen and taken an up-the-gut pass from Krejci.
“As soon as I saw Krech, I kind of stayed where I was,” Paille said. “I had all the time in the world to make the right play. I just had to shoot.”
On the breakaway, Paille went low blocker to beat Lehner and tie the score at 2-2. Paille also scored in Saturday’s 3-0 win over the Flyers.
“They’ve been good lately,” Julien said of the fourth line. “They do the things the simple way. They throw pucks at the net. They crash the net. They’re in the right spot. That gave us that first goal. On the second one, Dan comes off a change and happens to be in the right place at the right time. He made sure he buried it.”
The grinders stabilized their teammates when they needed the support. For the rest of the game, the Bruins returned to their standard play: preventing scoring chances, giving Rask good looks at the puck, and building levels of defensive protection to stave off Ottawa’s attack.
“At first, we were slow as snails,” Julien said. “We picked it up a little better in the second. In the third, we had more tempo to our game. It was a hard-fought one. Happy to come out of here with two points.”