OTTAWA – Any way you look at it, the Bruins let a golden chance slip through their fingers on Saturday afternoon.
The Bruins were 20 minutes away from returning to Boston up 2-0 in a best-of-seven series and had a two-goal lead going into the fateful third period before ultimately losing a 4-3 overtime decision to the Senators in Game 2 at the Canadian Tire Centre. The final three goals for the Sens were either point blasts or passing seams right through the middle of the defensive zone, and it certainly felt like the Boston defense softened up a little bit in the third period and overtime.
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“It’s fairly typical with a team that’s behind at home that they’re going to push hard and be desperate, and they did,” said Cassidy. “We didn’t attack enough I thought. When we had opportunities, we were off-net with our shots to extend the lead or to create havoc in their end. We just didn’t have the urgency they did and that’s what generally happened.
“What’s disappointing is that we’re generally pretty good at closing out games, and we didn’t defend high well in our end. We had some breakdowns up top and right until the bitter ends pucks were getting through up-top all the way to the net. We need to close plays off and we needed to front some of those pucks better, and we didn’t. Give them credit, they’ve got some skill up top and they took advantage of it.”
Certainly the most egregious example was Erik Karlsson wheeling through the top of Boston’s zone, and the entire Boston group of five defenders watched and chased after him while leaving Derick Brassard wide open on the backdoor. That goal tied up the game midway through the third period and paved the way for Dion Phaneuf’s game-winner in overtime.
So the Bruins return to Boston with a 1-1 split and now holding home ice advantage in the series, and it will be about moving on to a pivotal Game 3 at TD Garden on Monday night.
“It’s definitely disappointing, but now that it happened we have to move forward,” said Patrice Bergeron. “It would be nice to win 16 in a row, but that’s not easy to do. So you have to move forward and learn from what just happened.
“We played a little more on our heels and tried to play a little too defensive [in the third period]. They made us pay. I don’t really stop and worry about [momentum]. We feel good and we’re thinking about the third game right now.”
Now the Bruins and Senators will hit the reset button, practice on Sunday and prepare anew as the series changes settings to a city of Boston that’s been starved for playoff hockey over the last three years.