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Ryan Spooner’s two goals lifts Bruins over Senators

Ryan Spoonerscored twice in the second period.Getty Images

OTTAWA — The Bruins beat the Senators on Tuesday at Canadian Tire Centre, 3-1. They are six points ahead of No. 9 Florida. They stretched their lead over the 10th-place Senators to seven points to make Ottawa’s playoff push even less likely. Tuukka Rask submitted a sparkling 39-save performance. Ottawa native Ryan Spooner scored two goals.

For all that, there were some sour faces in the visiting dressing room after the win.

“The most important thing is we won the game and got the two points in the standings,” said Milan Lucic. “But we gave up a lot more chances than we would have liked. Tuukka stepped up and played a huge game for us, especially in the second period. We come out 3-0 heading into the third, but it easily could be 3-3.”


The Bruins had been playing well before their visit to Ottawa. In back-to-back weekend wins over the Flyers and Red Wings, they limited opposing scoring chances. They didn’t give either team much space off the rush.

That changed in a big way against the Senators.

Hockey is a funny game. The Bruins played with fire for 40 minutes. They only got burned once when Matt Puempel scored his first career goal at 8:30 of the third.

While they were busy fiddling with matches and trying to light themselves on fire, the Bruins pumped three second-period pucks behind Craig Anderson. Few goalies, especially those with electric stuff, will gag away a 3-0 lead in the third.

“After the second period, I said, ‘We’re up 3-0. You can thank your goaltender,’ ” coach Claude Julien said. “We did a poor job of reloading. They were coming at us on the rush. For whatever reason, there was a lot of standing still. In the third period, it’s important to have some good composure and make the right plays. They had us on our heels from the second period on. If not for Tuukka, it could have been a different outcome. Having said that, we won a big game. They don’t always have to be pretty at this point. But they have to be successful. That’s the most important thing.”


The Bruins’ offensive barrage started with Marc Methot in the box for hooking. On the power play, Anderson stopped a Dougie Hamilton point shot. Torey Krug got the rebound and slid a cross-crease pass to Spooner. The center settled the puck, loaded up, and snapped it high blocker on Anderson at 1:02 of the second.

At 15:21, Loui Eriksson doubled his team’s lead. During four-on-four play, Eriksson engaged Cody Ceci in a race for the puck. Eriksson got there first, tapped the puck forward, and hopped around Ceci. Anderson tried to poke the puck away from Eriksson. But the right wing eluded Anderson’s stick and tucked the puck into the net.

Spooner scored his second at 16:53. David Pastrnak started the play by blocking Kyle Turris’s shot. This triggered a two-on-two rush for Lucic and Spooner. Lucic bulled through Milan Michalek, then looked for Spooner at the far post.

In previous seasons, Spooner might have pulled up instead of finishing his net drive. This habit did not win him much favor with his coaches.

This time, Spooner went into the danger area. He got rewarded. The puck hopped off Spooner’s left skate and past Anderson, giving the Bruins a 3-0 lead.


“He drove to the net hard and stopped,” Julien said. “Looch did a heck of a job outmuscling the defenseman and getting that puck to him. It was nice to see him score a couple goals in his hometown. We’re seeing him really turn the corner. That’s what young players do. You’ve got to give them time. He’s had some stints with us. He’s grown through it. Right now, he’s probably the best we’ve seen him.”

While Anderson was fishing pucks out of his net, Rask did nothing of the same. The ace was on fire, booting out all 21 second-period shots the Senators whizzed his way. By the Bruins’ count, the Senators racked up six scoring chances off the rush in the second. That they didn’t score on any spoke to Rask’s superlative puckstopping.

The Bruins play Tampa Bay on Thursday. The Lightning are even faster and more skilled than the Senators when given space in the neutral zone.

“That’s too many,” Rask said of the chances off the rush. “Just have better angles and pushback, and better reads overall. When you give teams who are good on the rush three-on-twos, the odds are they’re going to score at some point. Tampa has plenty of speed and firepower up front. We just have to make sure we have really good pushback and numbers coming back.”

Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at fshinzawa@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeFluto.