OTTAWA – Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien was stressing the importance of playing 60 minutes. Ottawa Senators coach Craig Hartsburg was talking about playing hard with the puck.
Only one message got through Saturday night as the Bruins beat the Senators 4-2 at Scotiabank Place.
Phil Kessel had two goals, both in the second period including the winner, and an assist for the Bruins (2-1-1) who also got goals from Marco Sturm and Milan Lucic. Marc Savard had three assists.
“I thought the team played really well overall and really limited the scoring chances,” said Julien. “Overall I thought it was a good solid effort from out hockey club, probably the best one so far this year.”
Manny Fernandez got the start in goal for the Bruins and he faced just 12 shots through the first two periods before the Senators mounted some pressure in the third.
The Senators got their goals from sophomore Nick Foligno in the first period and captain Daniel Alfredsson in the second. Martin Gerber made his third consecutive start in goal for the Senators (2-2-1), who were 6-3 winners over the Phoenix Coyotes on Friday.
“You’ve got to be able to play with the puck to create offence and to compete for loose pucks,” Hartsburg said.
“We had some flurries in the third finally when we started to work and compete and be strong on pucks. The first two periods we generated hardly anything at all.”
The Bruins outshot the Senators 27-23.
Lucic scored the only goal of the third period and it came with less than three minutes to play to give the Bruins a little breathing room. Michael Ryder broke down the right side and cut in front of Gerber who made the initial save, but Lucic was right there to put the rebound into an empty net.
“There were a few situations in the first two periods where we were running around in our zone and we gave them a bit too much room and that’s a team that takes advantage,” Gerber said.
“They were pressuring us, especially in the second period and they found the open man.”
The Bruins took a 2-1 lead five minutes into the second period when Kessel was the recipient of a beautiful pass from out of the corner by Savard. Kessel fired a one-timer that Gerber had no chance on.
Kessel then scored his second goal of the period while the Bruins were on the power play. The Senators were unable to clear a loose puck from in front of Gerber and Kessel converted from a pile of players in front of the goal.
The Senators got that goal back two minutes later with a power-play marker of their own. Alfredsson took a wrist shot that went high over the glove of Fernandez into the top corner. It was Alfredsson’s first goal of the season.
“The team now realizes that they have to play a strong game when I’m back there. They want to play good defensively and they want to help me out as much as they can, so I can’t say it’s good or bad to only get 12 shots. I have to be focused for those 12 shots but I wouldn’t rather have 36 shots though,” Fernandez said.
Sturm opened the scoring just 66 seconds into the game when he tipped a backhand shot by Kessel past Gerber.
Just slightly less than seven minutes later, Foligno fired a shot from the right faceoff circle that seemed to clip the inside of Fernandez’s blocker and go in to tie the game.
Notes: Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas has recorded three of his seven career shutouts against the Senators. … Bruins F Phil Kessel hasn’t missed a game since Jan. 9, 2007 when he returned from testicular cancer surgery, a streak of 129 games. … Senators forward Chris Kelly recorded his 100th career point with a first-period assist Saturday. … D Filip Kuba (0-7) and forward Dany Heatley (4-2) are the only Senators to record at least a point in all five of the Senators games this season.