OTTAWA – The Ottawa Senators knew they only had themselves to blame for Saturday’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Boston Bruins.
Leading 3-1 with 1:28 remaining in regulation the Senators (5-2-2) appeared to be in control and on their way to victory, but a late meltdown cost them two points. Mark Recchi, playing in his 1,500th NHL career game, made it 3-2 as he tipped in Derek Morris’s shot. Then, with 21.6 seconds remaining, David Krejci tied the game as he found himself all alone in front.
Blake Wheeler also scored in regulation for the Bruins (5-4-1), while Patrice Bergeron scored the lone shootout goal.
“There’s two guys open in front with 30 seconds left,” said Brian Elliott, who faced 28 shots. “That really can’t happen. We really need to communicate better in our own end especially when we’re trying to close out a game.”
Daniel Alfredsson, who picked up his fourth of the season, couldn’t hide his frustration.
“They had no business winning that game,” said Alfredsson. “They get one goal and then get a little bit lucky. We failed to clear and (Anton) Volchenkov loses his stick and they score.”
Alex Kovalev, Alfredsson and Jason Spezza were unable to score in the shootout.
The Senators played well prior to the late hiccup, especially considering their history against Tim Thomas, who faced 30 shots. Thomas is 13-5-0-2 lifetime against Ottawa and he was solid on this night as well.
“Thomas was great for us,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “He always gives us a chance.”
Thomas admitted he never expected a late rally after the Senators took the lead.
“I thought we were going to lose once we were down 3-1 with two minutes left,” he said. “You never give, but I don’t think anybody in the building expected that.”
Elliott, making just his second start this year, also deserved credit for his play early in the game. The 24-year-old made a number of key saves as the Bruins created plenty of traffic in front of the Ottawa goal.
Alfredsson opened the scoring midway through the second with a shorthanded goal. Mike Fisher took the puck from the side boards and found Alfredsson, who broke in alone and beat Thomas through the legs.
The Senators now have a league-best four shorthanded goals this season, equalling the number of power-play goals they have.
The Bruins tied the game with less than three minutes remaining in the period as Wheeler seemed to catch Elliott off guard.
Thomas was solid early in the third as he stopped Jason Spezza and made a great glove save on Jonathan Cheechoo, who continues to search for his first goal as a Senator.
After Spezza set up Michalek for the go-ahead goal, Fisher made it 3-1 at 11:13 as his pass from the side boards ended up bouncing in off Bergeron.
“I was trying to get it to Kovalev and it just went in off one of their guys,” said Fisher.
Recchi was pleased with how the game ended considering it was such a milestone for him personally. He is one assist shy of 900, and his 1,445 points are the third most scored since the 1988-89 season.
“I won’t forget it, that’s for sure,” said Recchi, who was given a rousing ovation by Ottawa fans. “It was awesome to get an ovation like that. It was pretty special and I appreciate it and I appreciate the fans.”
Notes: Ottawa was without D Filip Kuba (lower body, day-to-day). RW Shean Donovan was a healthy scratch, while C Jesse Winchester was sent to Binghamton for a conditioning stint. … Boston’s Shawn Thornton was back in the lineup after missing the last two games. The Bruins were without C Marc Savard (broken foot, indefinite) and LW Milan Lucic (broken finger, indefinite), while C Trent Whitfield, LW Guillaume Lefebvre and D Johnny Boychuk were healthy scratches.