Torey Krug’s overtime goal lifts Bruins over Senators
OTTAWA — Torey Krug dropped to a knee and threw an uppercut punch, his sliding, shouting celebration well-earned after a comeback win.
The defenseman finished a slick play by David Krejci at 3:07 of overtime on Sunday, giving the Bruins (16-10-4) their second victory in two nights, 2-1 over the Senators at Canadian Tire Centre.
Krug rapped a cross-crease dish past Ottawa netminder Mike McKenna, who moments before rebuffed Sean Kuraly (pad stack) and Brad Marchand (glove). Marchand beat him once, during a second-period power play, but he made 42 saves in all.
Good as he was, he couldn’t recover after Krejci, the slippery veteran pivot, caused him to go paddle-down with a short-side deke, then slithered around the cage and hit a waiting Krug on the far doorstep.
“A highly, highly skilled player making a great pass,” said Krug, who potted his second goal in two nights.
After Saturday’s explosion against Toronto, the Bruins reverted to the lean, low-scoring ways of recent weeks. Including that 6-3 win over the Leafs, they’re averaging 2.08 goals in 12 games without Patrice Bergeron. Their grip on the game steadily weakening against Boston’s hungry forechecking, the Senators (13-14-4) put just three of their nine shot attempts on goal in the third period.
“We stayed patient,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “I thought we were the better team the last 40, 43 minutes, whatever it was. Eventually we got one.”
For both teams, Sunday’s initial sluggishness owed to the early start time (5:08 p.m.). Puck drop in Ottawa arrived 19 hours, three minutes after the final horn sounded Saturday at TD Garden. At least the Senators, who hosted Pittsburgh, got to sleep in their own beds.
“It took us a while to kind of wake up,” Krug said. “Guys were still in their pregame naps.”
Tuukka Rask, who had Saturday off, was fresh and ready. He kept the Bruins in it early and closed strong, making 27 saves.
He had little chance on the 1-0 goal. Ottawa’s Mark Stone scored at 12:51 of the first period, finishing a two-on-one opportunity born of mistakes by freshman and sophomore Bruins.
When a linesman tossed Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson from the faceoff circle, fellow rookie Ryan Donato lost the offensive-zone draw. He was beat on the backcheck after Charlie McAvoy’s ill-advised pinch gave the Senators an easy outlet. Matt Grzelcyk was unable to stop the rush, a streaking Colin White feeding Stone for a one-timer.
“Three or four bad sticks,” Cassidy said. “We were half a second late in arriving and having good sticks to kill the play.”
Hoping to tie the game with 50 seconds left in the first, Marchand broke out shorthanded. The NHL’s active leader in shorthanded goals (23) was looking for his 24th after a Chris Wagner cross-checking penalty. But Marchand raised his elbow high as he tried to beat defenseman Maxime Lajoie on the rush.
Cassidy said the star winger — who has scored two goals in his last 15 games — was frustrated by the call, the dry spell, whatever. “Had to talk him off the ledge for a second,” Cassidy said.
He watched as the Bruins killed the resulting five on three, which lasted 11 seconds into the second period, and a minute of the ensuing four on four.
“It was good to get the period over with and have that time to refocus,” Marchand said. “Things went much better after that.”
With an assist to Kuraly.
The hard-charging centerman put Boston on the power play by irritating Ottawa defenseman Ben Harpur. After taking two aggressive hits from Kuraly, Harpur, 6 feet 6 inches and 222 pounds, jumped Kuraly (6-2, 213), earning an instigator and a misconduct. Kuraly was game, but Harpur popped him with an uppercut to the nose, catching the Bruin bent over, head down. He needed repairs and missed several minutes, returning later in the third.
The Boston power play, which entered Sunday having scored five goals in its last 30 tries, converted to tie it. Marchand snapped his eighth of the season past McKenna at 7:49 of the second, making quick work of a David Pastrnak rebound.
With a Bergeron-less lineup, two goals aren’t enough unless the Bruins keep it tight. Sunday, they followed the plan.
“We’re not going to win a 6-5 track meet,” said Marchand. “When we take care of pucks and we play hard and we’re good on the forecheck, we’re a good team.”