They outworked, outplayed and outchanced their opponent from the opening minute and sustained the effort until the final one. There have been times this season where no Senators’ lead has looked safe, so kudos to them for keeping the pedal down and locking this one in against a talented Boston team. This was a bounce-back game in two respects: It made up for a 6-2 pasting by the Canucks on Thursday and a 4-0 loss to the Bruins back on Oct. 30.
Brian Elliott, Senators
Maybe he learned something from watching Tim Thomas dominate his team over the past few years. Elliott out-dueled the notorious Senators-killer Saturday night, picking up his first shutout of the season and seventh of his career. Few of the 31 shots he faced were gimmes — they came through traffic, on breakaways and hit tricky areas in his feet.
Blake Wheeler, Bruins
Boston’s best chance to tie this one up came on a Patrice Bergeron shot that bounced off Elliott and the crossbar before fluttering down into the blue paint. Wheeler was sliding head-first towards the puck and, instead of trying to ‘cross-check’ it in from his stomach, he just pushed it over the line with his hand. Sorry, those don’t count in hockey.
Sign a team is getting good bounces: When a stanchion deserves the second assist on a beautiful tic-tac-toe goal. The Senators scored their all-important insurance marker at 4:15 of the third period when the puck took a strange hop off the end boards behind Thomas. Milan Michalek grabbed it and immediately fed a pass across the slot to Daniel Alfredsson, who tapped it in before Boston’s defence could figure out what happened.
YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED
Zdeno Chara’s “revenge.” If you just perused the penalty summery on the scoresheet, you might see the early fighting majors and assume Big Z gave Chris Neil some serious payback for taking on non-fighter Dennis Seidenberg the last time these teams met. Not so much. Chara lost his footing early in the bout and Neil passed on a chance to deliver an easy punch to the chops. Fizzle.
- 1: Game-winning goal by Erik Karlsson
- 1: Point for Filip Kuba in his first game of the season
3: Consecutive wins for the Senators in Boston
- 31: Saves for Thomas, who also had a very strong game in a losing cause
Don’t tell Brian Elliott (291st overall pick in 2003) and Matt Carkner (a career minor-leaguer until age 28) about odds. Had either believed in them, neither would have suited up for his 100th NHL game Saturday night. Carkner displayed the hard-working attitude that got him here in the first period, skating hard on the back-check to rob Boston winger Michael Ryder of a sure breakaway, while Elliott’s 1.000 save percentage speaks for itself.