BOSTON – Even with team captain Zdeno Chara already in Russia and four more players headed that way, the Boston Bruins didn’t appear to have even the slightest pre-Olympic distraction.
The Bruins closed out their surge to the Olympic break with a 7-2 rout of the Ottawa Senators on Saturday as seven Boston players finished with multiple points.
“That’s something we talked about before the game. We wanted to end this on a good note and feeling good about ourselves heading into the break and I think we’ve done that,” said Patrice Bergeron, who had two goals and an assist.
The Bruins won for the ninth time in 11 games with one loss coming in overtime and enter the break with a large lead in the Atlantic Division and second-best record in the Eastern Conference.
Boston’s spot in the standings was secure regardless of Saturday’s result. Instead of coasting into the break, the Bruins closed with their first seven-goal game of the season.
“Our transition was great and that’s why we had so many odd-man rushes,” said Bergeron, whose only upcoming break is a long flight to Russia to join defending Olympic gold medallist Canada. “I’m Really excited and now I can look forward to it a lot more.”
Fellow Olympians David Krejci of the Czech Republic and Sweden’s Loui Eriksson added a pair of assists apiece in their final game before Olympic play begins.
“I liked the way we handled that,” Boston coach Claude Juliene said. “It’s not like the games we lost we weren’t very good. Throughout that stretch I thought the consistency we were looking for was there and more.”
Juliene is also Olympics-bound as a member of the Team Canada coaching staff.
Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask of Finland got the day off and Chara left Boston early to carry Slovakia’s flag in the opening ceremony.
Brad Marchand had a goal and two assists, Jarome Iginla a goal and assist and Reilly Smith a pair of assists for Boston.
The Bruins outshot the Senators 42-28 and chased Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson after Boston took a 5-1 lead early in the third on a goal by Milan Lucic.
“This is one of those nights where we just have to let it go, forget about it and move forward,” Anderson said. “We have that no-quit mentality and I think it’s shown over the last month or so. We have put ourselves in a pretty good situation to be in the hunt and to be in the battle for a playoff spot.”
Bobby Ryan scored in the second period and Patrick Wiercioch added a goal in the third for Ottawa.
Boston backup goalie Chad Johnson made 26 saves while getting the start for Tuukka Rask.
The Bruins led 2-0 after the first on goals by Bergeron and Chris Kelly, then pulled away with two more in the second.
Bergeron scored his second of the game with a series of moves that left the Senators standing still as he made his way to the net and tucked a backhand inside the post.
Defenceman Erik Karlsson was bracing to block a shot that never came and was caught standing upright as Bergeron skated around him, then caught Anderson with another fake that sent the Ottawa goalie toward the far side of the net. Bergeron neatly slipped the puck to the back of his stick and poked it in as he went behind the net.
Ryan pulled Ottawa within 3-1 on a goal with 2:45 left in the second, catching Johnson offguard with a wrist shot when the goalie was expecting a crossing pass.
But Boston scored again just 1:03 later when Krejci slid a pass across the crease to Iginla for a one-timer, then Krejci and Iginla assisted when Boston made it 5-1 3:35 into the third on a goal by Lucic.
Notes: Anderson allowed five goals on 33 shots. … Boston D David Warsofsky picked up his first NHL assist on Kelly’s goal with 3:34 left in the first period.