OTTAWA - When you've scored seven times over the last six games (1-3-2 during the run), you're hardly the type of team that can afford to have a goal taken away.
But in last night's second period, after Glen Murray put a puck over the goal line at 15:29, seemingly slashing Ottawa's advantage to 2-1, referee Dan O'Halloran didn't let the score stand.
"Poor explanation," said coach Claude Julien. "He said his intent was to blow the whistle, which is what the ruling is. He certainly didn't blow it on time, but it's still the intent.
"But when you look at the replay, there's no reason to even attempt to blow that whistle. That puck wasn't frozen. It was nowhere near frozen. It was in. In no time.
"To me, that was just a real tough call to swallow because we're back in the game, 2-1."
Instead, the Senators scored a power-play goal at 17:18 of the second period, making it a 3-0 game, and they coasted to a 4-1 victory before 20,143 at Scotiabank Place. The Bruins didn't put in a puck until Dennis Wideman popped home a Marc Savard rebound with 2:26 remaining.
The Bruins remain in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, 5 points behind Ottawa and 1 ahead of eighth-place Philadelphia.
"Little frustrating right now because we're not scoring goals," Julien said of his dull-as-C-Span offense. "We created some chances. But as a group, we've got to somehow find a way to score. That's our responsibility.
"Everybody has to take the responsibility of bearing down, getting their nose a little dirtier, and finding a way to score goals. Because nobody's going to give you any."
The waved-off sequence started when Marco Sturm, on one of the rare power-play scoring chances the Bruins had (0 for 5, five shots), walked the puck out of the right corner and jammed a close-range shot on Martin Gerber. As the Ottawa goalie got a piece of the puck, Sturm went tumbling into Gerber as he was dumped by defenseman Chris Phillips. With the puck still in play, Murray whacked the rebound into the cage. But O'Halloran ruled that he intended to blow the whistle to stop the play before Murray got to the puck.
"That was a big goal for us," said Murray, who hasn't netted a goal during the 1-3-2 stretch. "It would have made it 2-1. Different game there. We've just got to work hard. Keep working. No excuses. Just work, work, work. It's going to go in."
Two of Ottawa's four goals came directly after Gerber (28 saves) and his defense foiled sparkling Boston scoring chances. In the second period, after a scoreless first 20 minutes, P.J. Axelsson sprung Phil Kessel for a breakaway. Kessel threw several dekes on Gerber. But the goalie stayed with him, stopping a last-ditch wrister with his left pad.
The Senators gained control of the puck, cleared the zone, and kicked off a scoring rush. The play ended with top-line sniper Dany Heatley, setting up in his office at the right circle, netting the first of his three goals at 5:44 with a riser over Alex Auld (21 saves).
"He's got a great touch," Auld said. "He finds openings. He finds soft spots."
Heatley made it a 2-0 score with a power-play wrister (again from the right circle) after Cory Stillman had sliced in front of Auld, disrupting the goalie's sightlines. Because of the momentary screen, Auld couldn't spot Heatley's release until the puck was en route.
"I got caught trying to peek around Stillman to see it," said Auld. "He probably saw the way I was leaning and put it in the opposite corner. It's tough, especially when you don't see a release from a guy like that."
But even when Andrew Ference was nabbed for high-sticking at 16:35 of the second period, the Bruins had a chance to halve Ottawa's lead. After defenseman Andrej Meszaros fell in the Boston zone and lost the puck, Chuck Kobasew sprinted away for an odd-man rush. Gerber stopped two Kobasew shots, then saw Savard crashing the net as the trailer.
"It handcuffed me because I was going to the net," Savard said of his follow-up shot. "Chuckie shot it, then I just toed it. It chipped up somehow. It was going in. I don't know if someone batted it, but it hit the [top] side of the crossbar."
Sure enough, the Senators went the other way, Heatley put two shots on goal, and linemate Jason Spezza tucked in the rebound at 17:18 to put the Bruins down by a 3-0 score.
"I don't know if we're all gripping our sticks or what it is," said Savard. "But we've got to figure out a way to get the puck in the net."