In Thursday night’s second period, the Bruins were four seconds away from killing their 28th straight penalty. Coach Claude Julien was preparing for five-on-five play. He had replaced Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille, two of his penalty-killing forwards, with David Krejci and Nathan Horton.
But a broken play halted the Bruins’ streak. At 14:38, just before Shawn Thornton was set to finish serving a too many men infraction, Ottawa’s Jim O’Brien beat Tuukka Rask to tie the game at 1-1.
It didn’t help that seconds earlier, Rask had stuffed Kaspars Daugavins on a breakaway.
“That’s the worst for a goalie, when you make a big save or a couple big saves, then it just finds a way in the net,” Rask said. “Those are the worst.”
Daugavins had slipped behind defensemen Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg. At the same time, Patrick Wiercioch, from deep in the Ottawa end, spotted Daugavins up the ice. Wiercioch connected with a long-distance, up-the-gut pass.
Rask denied Daugavins with his pad. But the puck squirted back into the danger area. Before Chara or Seidenberg could clear the puck, O’Brien poked it past Rask.
O’Brien’s goal halted the Bruins’ streak, their longest since posting 28 straight kills in March 2007.
“A guy coming in the door and the other guy touches the puck before,” Julien said of the too many men penalty. “It’s a legit call. It’s a tough call to swallow, but it’s a legit call. Those penalties end up costing you in the end. Bad bounce, but still, it’s one of those things that happens.”
But the penalty kill delivered at the end of regulation and start of overtime. At 19:28 of the third period, Milan Lucic hit the deck behind the Ottawa net, and tried to keep the play going by pushing the puck with his glove. But Lucic was nabbed for closing his hand on the puck.
The Bruins didn’t argue the call. Instead, they killed off part of Lucic’s penalty to close out regulation. In overtime, during four-on-three play, Chara, Seidenberg, and Patrice Bergeron kept Ottawa’s No. 1 unit off the board. Rask helped with a blocker stop on a point-blank chance by Wiercioch.
“I don’t think we’re getting rattled by getting scored on every once in a while,” said Julien. “It’s good to see the guys bounce back.”
A team to watch
It would not have been surprising had the Senators tumbled down the Eastern Conference standings. Ottawa is without Erik Karlsson (Achilles’), Jason Spezza (back), and Craig Anderson (knee), three of the team’s best players. Had the Senators packed it in, captain Daniel Alfredsson might have been available on the trade market.
But the Senators entered Thursday’s game riding a five-game winning streak. Alfredsson, who would have been among the Bruins’ targets, wants to stay with the only club he’s known.
“I understand there’s going to be rumors,” Alfredsson said. “But for me, my focus is here with this team. Especially with the way we’re continuing to get points, getting into the playoffs, that’s what everybody wants.”
It’s possible the Senators might not be able to sustain their momentum because of injuries. Because of the Bruins’ ties to Ottawa (general manager Peter Chiarelli, Chara, Kelly), Alfredsson would be a good fit in Boston. He would be an upgrade on the third line, and also help on the power play.
Alfredsson, 40, is in the final year of his contract. The captain’s preference would be to retire as a Senator.
“I’ve been here for so long, I can’t see anything else,” Alfredsson said. “But I also never say never for anything. Don’t read anything into that. I just feel this is where I belong.”
Protected in pipes
Robin Lehner, Ottawa’s No. 3 goalie, made his first start of the season on Thursday, and notched 44 saves. Lehner had been backing up ex-Maine goalie Ben Bishop following Anderson’s injury. While Anderson (8-4-2, 1.49 goals-against average, .952 save percentage) had been outstanding, Bishop (4-2-0, 2.17 GAA, .935 save percentage) has been nearly as sharp. “They have an unbelievable goaltending tandem right now,” Julien said of Anderson and Bishop. “They’re so good for them.” . . . Ottawa defenseman Eric Gryba played in his first career game against the Bruins. Ottawa picked Gryba in the third round of the 2006 draft, using a selection they acquired from Boston as compensation for the Bruins’ hiring of Chiarelli . . . Lucic led all players with seven hits . . . The Bruins didn’t have a fight for the seventh straight game . . . Edmonton Oilers president Kevin Lowe and senior vice president Craig MacTavish attended the game. They are in town to attend the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference this weekend . . . The Bruins were 0 for 3 on the power play. They are 0 for 26 this season at TD Garden . . . Aaron Johnson, Lane MacDermid, and Jay Pandolfo were the healthy scratches.