OTTAWA – The Ottawa Senators had plenty of chances to beat the Boston Bruins, but in the end too many of them slipped away in a 2-1 pre-season loss Friday.
The Senators outshot the Bruins 36-20 and had a number of solid chances, including two great ones by Daniel Alfredsson late in the game, but still couldn’t find a way to beat goaltender Tim Thomas.
“Both goalies were outstanding,” said Alfredsson. “I thought I was going to surprise him five-hole, but he was one step ahead of me. He kept them in the game and won them the game pretty much.”
Thomas took the accolades in stride and was mindful that it was just the pre-season, but admitted he feels good heading into the regular season.
“It’s nice to get into a rhythm,” he said. “The effort the guys have put out in front of me the last two games is definitely going to help my game going into the season.”
Despite the loss the Senators, who finish the pre-season with a 2-4-0 record, were pretty happy with the overall effort.
Alfredsson admitted they started strong and then suffered some breakdowns which in the end cost them the game.
“There’s stuff we could have done better,” he said. “I think we had some really good stretches. Overall I think we played a good game, but we’re not capitalizing on our chances.”
The Senators had a number of chances on the power play, but only managed to score once despite having five opportunities.
Ryan Shannon was the lone Senator to beat Thomas as he caught him sprawled on the ground after stopping Chris Campoli’s point shot.
The Bruins, with a 5-1-1 pre-season record, tied the game in the final minute of the period as Brad Marchand tipped Derek Morris’ point shot to beat Pascal Leclaire glove side.
Thomas and Leclaire were the story in the opening period as both made some spectacular saves to keep the game close.
“I felt pretty good, pretty comfortable probably the best I’ve felt in the pre-season,” said Leclaire. “I need to try and be as consistent as possible. For a goalie I think that’s the most important thing, trying to be good every night or at least most of the night.”
Leclaire was the Senators’ best player of the game as he made a number of key saves giving the 18,295 on hand at Scotiabank Place something to cheer about.
“He’s played really well,” said Ottawa’s Mike Fisher. “He’s only gotten better as training camp goes on.”
The second period seemed to lack the intensity seen in the first period as neither team had any great scoring chances.
Fata scored the winner seven minutes into the third as he beat a screened Leclaire with a shot from the blue-line.
The Bruins play their final pre-season game Saturday night as they host the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Notes: The Senators will have their first day off Saturday since training camp opened September 12th to enjoy some team bonding activities.