B's drop finale 4-2 to Senators, await Leafs

B's drop finale 4-2 to Senators, await Leafs
April 28, 2013, 10:00 pm
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BOSTON -- It's official. The Bruins will face the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, thanks to a 4-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Sunday night at the TD Garden to conclude the regular season.

Had the Bruins won in regulation, they would have faced the New York Islanders. Had they won in either overtime or a shootout, they would have faced the Senators.

But Ottawa broke a 2-2 stalemate with 3:34 left in regulation on a Jean-Gabriel Pageau goal from the left post after Marc Methot's shot from the left point hit Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid. Tuukka Rask was caught going to his left, and the puck stayed to his right, where Pageau put it home into the open net.

Kyle Turris made it a 4-2 lead with an empty-netter with 36.5 seconds left in the game.

Erik Condra originally put Ottawa up 1-0 with 3:01 left in the first period, after he knocked home a rebound on a Pageau shot from the high slot.

Condra avoided a hit from Johnny Boychuk at the left half-wall, but then got up to take a loose puck into the left circle, where he slid a pas back to Pageau at the high slot. Condra kept skating hard to the net and swooped in on the rebound.

Jared Cowen gave the Senators a 2-0 lead midway through the second period, when his shot from the middle-point beat Rask to the low-right side of the net.

The Bruins cut that lead to 2-1 with 3.4 seconds left in the second after Rich Peverley put a quick wrister low-left from the right circle, while on a 5-on-4 power play. Defenseman Wade Redden did the dirty work, taking the puck down the right boards and taking a big hit at the half-wall while sending the puck out to a streaking Peverley in the right circle.

The Bruins tied the scored at 2-2 just 14 seconds into the third period, as Dennis Seidenberg ripped a slap shot upstairs from the right point, but that was all the B's would get, as they now enter the playoffs as the No. 4 seed to play the No. 5 Maple Leafs.

TALKING POINTS: From Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty

GOLD STAR: Erik Karlsson finished with two assists and a plus-2 rating in 27:49 and had nine total shots attempted in a dominant performance against the Bruins that showed he’s over his injury. Even a slashing exchange at the end of the first period that earned Brad Marchand a penalty didn’t slow down the Swedish defenseman. It was a quick D-to-D pass from Karlsson that set up Marc Methot’s point shot, and eventually gave way to a Jean-Gabriel Pageau game-winning score with less than four minutes to go. A healthy Karlsson is a difference-maker for Ottawa.

BLACK EYE: Carl Soderberg was on the ice for each of Ottawa’s first two goals, and finished with one shot on net and one hit in 12:26 of ice time that was incredibly forgettable. Soderberg is clearly rough around the edges, and needs some time to develop toughness in the battle areas along with an idea of how to use his ideal size against NHL opponents. He’s shown some flashes skating with Chris Kelly and Jaromir Jagr, but the Big Swede doesn’t look like somebody that’s going to be much help in the playoffs.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins had their chances while outshooting the Senators 16-9 in the second period, but couldn’t scratch for more than one goal while playing a dominating stretch. That opened the door for a one-goal-wins-it-all grudge match in the final 20 minutes, and the Senators were the team that finished things off with a Kyle Turris rebound goal in the final four minutes. The inability to finish off plays has hurt the Bruins this season, and it crept up and bit them as they wasted chance after chance to win the Northeast Division from a struggling Habs team.

HONORABLE MENTION: A shout-out to the Bruins nasty attitude, which showed up early and often as Boston was trying to intimidate the Senators in a preview of their playoff identity. Milan Lucic was smashing guys with clean body checks and then dropped the gloves with Chris Neil in a legit heavyweight fight. Brad Marchand was trying to agitate Erik Karlsson by hitting him after the whistle at the end of the first period. Johnny Boychuk also zealously attempted to level Erik Condra into the boards, but the Ottawa forward sidestepped him and eventually scored a goal in the process in the first period.

BY THE NUMBERS: 18 – the number of goals that the Bruins have scored in their last nine games headed into the playoffs. That’s simply not good enough if the team is hoping to win in the postseason.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Just because we accomplished something two years ago doesn’t mean it’s going to be automatic. We should have that anger and hunger that we haven’t been as good as we were. I’m more focused on trying to prove it again.” --Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton, who has head screwed on straight about the right way to approach this year’s playoffs.