Bruins lose to Senators, will face Maple Leafs in first round of playoffs

Steve Conroy, Boston Herald on

Published in Hockey

BOSTON — If the Bruins were looking to lower expectations heading into the playoffs, they did a good job of it the last two nights.

With the Atlantic Division title on the line for the second straight night, the Bruins again showed up to the rink with little pace and purpose early and paid the price for it on the scoreboard.

The B’s, who were shut out in Washington on Monday, fell to the Ottawa Senators, 3-1, on Tuesday at TD Garden in the final regular-season game of the year. They scored one goal in their final six periods of the regular season and for that reason, coupled with the Florida Panthers’ win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, the B’s finished in second place in the division.

That has earned them a date with the Leafs in the first round, which is expected to start on Saturday at TD Garden. The B’s swept the four-game season series, and the B’s have beaten the Leafs in three Game 7s on Garden ice in the past 11 years. But none of that matters now. The Leafs have a potent offense (3.65 goals per game, second in the league) that cannot be overlooked.

On Tuesday, after giving the Sens a 2-0 lead in the second period, the B’s outshot Ottawa 23-2 in the third but could manage only one Pavel Zacha power-play goal.

With the B’s on a late power play, they pulled goalie Linus Ullmark to make it a 6-on-4, but David Pastrnak’s bad cross-ice pass was picked off by Artem Zub, who deposited it into the empty net to end it.


With the playoffs finally here and the regular season done, Bruins coach Jim Montgomery chose to focus on the urgency that was evident late, not the lack of it early on Tuesday.

“Disappointed in it, but I do like that fact that we got better every period. Our third period was a good brand of hockey, something to be confident about going into our preparation for playoffs,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery and the players did not yet know who their first-round opponent was going to be when they met the media after the game. Captain Brad Marchand (minus-3) acknowledged the team showed up two periods too late, but he was already focusing forward.

“This game is done and over with, regardless of how we played in any of the periods,” Marchand said. “Come playoff time, there’s so much excitement and adrenaline and guys are so dialed in. It would have been nice if we played better tonight but at the end of the day, we have all week to prepare and we’ll be excited to get going.”


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