OTTAWA – Mika Zibanejad wasn’t happy with the way Wednesday’s pre-season game started, but the finish couldn’t have been sweeter.
The Senators’ prospect wired a one-timer past Tuukka Rask at 3:17 of overtime as Ottawa defeated the Boston Bruins 2-1.
Zibanejad, the sixth overall pick at June’s draft, is anxious to prove he belongs in Ottawa. He was happy with being the overtime hero, but was frustrated with his play early on.
“It’s a great feeling (to score the winner),” said the 18-year-old Swede. “But I feel like I got a little bit lucky to score that goal.”
Brian Lee had Ottawa’s other goal and assisted on the winner, while Nick Foligno picked up two assists.
Lane MacDermid replied for the Bruins, who got 34 saves from Rask.
Craig Anderson, making his pre-season debut, allowed one goal on 11 shots for Ottawa. Alex Auld played the second half of the game for the Senators, stopping all 14 shots he faced.
Veteran defenceman Sergei Gonchar, who struggled in 2010-11, played a strong game for Ottawa after missing the end of last season with a concussion.
“Last year was not a good one and I felt this was a good start,” Gonchar said. “There was a lot of good things not just for me, but for the whole team.”
Gonchar was an assistant captain on Wednesday and will be counted on to add some leadership to what will likely be one of the youngest teams in the league.
“I think it’s part of the older guys’ job to be responsible and help the younger guys,” he said. “We need to help as much as we can.”
The Senators were the better team in a scoreless first period, outshooting the Bruins 12-3 and forcing Rask into a number of difficult saves.
“They were definitely the better team tonight,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “They played a more direct game and we didn’t seem to muster up much.”
The Bruins opened the scoring at the seven-minute mark of the second as MacDermid beat Anderson stickside after the Senators netminder gave up a big rebound.
“I thought MacDermid played well,” Julien added. “He’s a good solid player for us.”
The Senators tied the game just over a minute later when Lee beat Rask shortside through a screen.
The Senators will play a home-and-home against the Montreal Canadiens starting Friday night, while the Bruins head to New York to take on the Islanders.
Notes: The Senators paid respect to the players who died in the Lokomotiv plane tragedy prior to the start of the game.