More of the same as Thomas dominates Senators

Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson and his teammates tried to change their history against the Boston Bruins with a nod to the team’s past on Wednesday, but Tim Thomas would have none of it.

More of the same as Thomas dominates Senators
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson, left, and Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Lee Stempniak, right, vie for the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game on Sunday, April 6, 2014, in Denver. The Penguins won 3-2 in a shootout. (AP Photo/Chris Schneider)

Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson and his teammates tried to change their history against the Boston Bruins with a nod to the team’s past on Wednesday, but Boston Bruins netminder Tim Thomas was having none of it.

The throwback sweaters and Anderson’s heritage-inspired mask amounted to background noise in the Bruins 5-2 win. Thomas was his same old stingy self, stopping 47 shots and improving his career record against the Senators to 21-8-2.

“I’m 12-1 in my last 13, I don’t think it’s this building,” said Thomas, when asked about his success at Scotiabank Place. “It’s not Ottawa, it’s not Canada. I get asked this a lot. This team is finding ways to win right now, whether we’re playing our best hockey…that might not be the case.”

The ageless netminder did his best work early and late while his Bruins teammates gave him necessary third period breathing room by capitalizing on more ghastly third period giveaways by the Senators. Sound familiar?

The Bruins were nursing a 2-1 lead early in the third when Daniel Alfredsson and Erik Karlsson crossed signals, leading directly to a Patrice Bergeron breakaway goal. A mere 56 seconds later, Karlsson and David Rundblad were both caught up ice, allowing Dennis Paille to score on a breakaway, putting the game out of reach.

“Again, two fatal mistakes, not executing with the puck, ends up with two breakaways for them and ends up being the difference in the game,” said coach Paul MacLean. “It’s happening continually and we have to work at having it stop.”

Jason Spezza scored to provide a hint of late drama – the Senators threw 22 shots at Thomas in the final period – but the comeback disappeared when Paille capped the scoring with 1:04 to go.

Rich Peverley and former Senator Chris Kelly also scored for the Bruins and Daniel Alfredsson had the Senators other goal.

Kelly’s goal, with 6:13 left in the second, broke a 1-1 deadlock.

The Senators then failed to take advantage of Adam McQuaid’s five minute major for kneeing Nick Foligno — a power play cut short by a Zenon Konopka penalty – to tie the game again. They went 0-for-5 with the man advantage. They’re 2-for-31 with the man advantage in their past eight games, 4-for-55 in their past 15 games. They were also missing 19-goal scorer Milan Michalek due to a concussion.

The Bruins, playing without star defenceman Zdeno Chara, had no legs at the outset, outshot 9-1 in the opening eight minutes, but Thomas was a rock.

A mere 24 seconds after a spirited fight between Milan Lucic and Matt Carkner, Rich Peverley broke the scoreless deadlock, beating Anderson with a shot low to the stick side. It was the Bruins third shot of the game.

Alfredsson’s goal early in the second period tied the game 1-1 but the Senators could never get the lead against Thomas.

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t get as many goals as we would have liked on the chances we created in the first two periods,” said Alfredsson. “Then I make a bad pass to (Karlsson) and they get a breakaway and they score right away after and kind of put it away.”

From Thomas’s play to the defensive miscues, it was an all too familiar story.

GAME FILE

WHY THEY WON/LOST: The Senators could have used Milan Michalek – or any goal scorer for that matter. Boston looked vulnerable without star defenceman Zdeno Chara in the lineup. They pressed and pressed in the first two periods, but only Daniel Alfredsson could find the range. The third period featured more ghastly defensive mistakes, leading to the goals by Patrice Bergeron and Daniel Paille, which put the game out of reach.

STUD: Tim Thomas, Bruins. He’s old by NHL goaltending standards, but there seems to be no end to his act. Thomas is now 21-8-2 all-time against the Senators. He kept his sleepy teammates in the game early and held off the Senators in the second period before the Bruins took advantage of the Senators mistakes in the third. Thomas stopped 47 shots..

DUD: Senators powerplay. Well, this is getting old. We could talk about Karlsson and Rundblad being out of position in the third period – again – but if the Senators could have cashed in with the man advantage, the young defencemen wouldn’t have had to force the play. The Senators couldn’t take advantage of the five-minute major to Adam McQuaid – cut short by Zenon Konopka’s penalty – late in the second period. Ottawa came into the game 2-for-26 on the power play in its previous seven games and 4-for-50 in its previous 13 games.

STICKY STICK: Tim Thomas was at a loss nine minutes into the second period. His goal stick got stuck in net and he couldn’t pry it loose. He was unsure what to do when Kaspars Daugavins was chasing a loose puck in the slot. Fortunately for Thomas and the Bruins, Daugavins couldn’t corral the puck.

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