By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Boston Bruins are officially slumping.
Arriving in Ottawa with two straight losses to their name, and with Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy essentially telling his team that they needed to wake up and get back to their strong starts, the Bruins instead saw pucks bounce every which way but theirs in a 5-2 loss to the Senators at the Canadian Tire Center.
And it didn’t take long for the Bruins’ nightmare to get underway, as a horrific sequence somehow ended with Artem Anisimov barreling towards Tuukka Rask on a breakaway, and with B’s center Charlie Coyle as the last line of defense, before going upstairs with a backhand for his fourth goal of the year, and an Ottawa lead just 1:35 into the first period.
Hemmed in their own zone for a large chunk of the first period, the Bruins saw their deficit doubled behind Anthony Duclair’s 14th strike of the year, scored 15:09 after the Anisimov tally to give the Sens a seemingly improbable 2-0 edge.
Duclair’s goal really headlined some of the B’s disastrous play on the evening, as the play was started when Chris Tierney won a 50-50 board battle with Joakim Nordstrom to regain possession, continued when Chris Wagner slipped and saw his reset to John Moore behind the net bounce away from Moore and into trouble for a wide-open Duclair in the slot.
Patrice Bergeron made his return to the Boston lineup after missing seven straight contests due to a lingering lower-body injury, and got the Bruins on the board with their first of two goals on the night, scored with 2:22 left in the first period.
But confirmation that this was not going to be the Black and Gold’s night came with an inexcusably poor play that saw Rask go for a walk behind his net to retrieve a puck, where Vladislav Namestnikov was waiting and fed Tierney for a wide-open cage. It was just an all around horrendous play, with Rask making a mild-at-best effort to get back into his vacated cage after Namestnikov’s interception, and with no Bruin skater having the get-up to bail their goaltender out.
It was as if the whole team had a Nyquil sandwich pregame dinner.
Chasing the game throughout the night, the Bruins would go on to outshoot the Senators by a 32-14 mark over the final two periods of play, but did not score their second goal of the night until the game was already decided thanks to an empty-net goal from J.G. Pageau, and then a second from Duclair to give a 5-2 final.
Rask finished with 23 saves in the losing effort, while Senators goaltender Anders Nilsson stopped 38-of-40 for the win.
The Bruins will head to Washington for a Wednesday head-to-head with the Capitals. The B’s fell to the Caps in a shootout at TD Garden on Nov. 16, and have dropped 15 of their last 16 meetings with the Capitals dating back to Oct. 2014.