Talking Points: Bruins 5, Senators 3

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Talking Points: Bruins 5, Senators 3

KANATA, ON The Bruins won the battle and made a statement against an Ottawa Senators team nipping at their playoff heels.

But it may have come at a cost.

The Bruins won a tight 5-3 grudge match over the Senators at Scotiabank Place that included a furious third period comeback and a potential injury to Johnny Boychuk after he was steam-rolled by Chris Neil.

The victory gives the Bs a five-point lead in the Northeast Division over Senators the with three games in hand, and ended Ottawas four-game winning streak in the process.

The Sens started out quickly with an Erik Karlsson bomb to get the early lead, but Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand responded with answers later in the period to push the Black and Gold back in front. Carter Camper added his first NHL goal in the second period to push things to a two-goal lead thats normally as good as gold for the Bs.

David Krejci notched another tally in the third period that seemed to be just the insurance the Bruins needed, but then Ottawa woke up. Neil crashed into Boychuk with a clean shoulder-to-shoulder hit when the Bs defenseman was caught with his head down, and then Zdeno Chara dropped the gloves with Neil.

That seemed to spark the Senators, who got a pair of Daniel Alfredsson strikes from perimeter shots to inch perilously close to the Bruins. Bergeron eventually salted it away with an empty net goal in the final minute, but it sets the stage for another hard-fought contest against the Sens on Tuesday night at TD Garden.

GOLD STAR: Patrice Bergeron knocked down a pair of goals, finished with a game-high nine shots on net and did yeomans work in his 19:29 of ice time for the Bruins. With injuries to key players, other top tier players have needed to step up for the Black and Gold, and Bergeron did exactly that in a playoff-style game for the Bs. The first goal was particularly important given that it was a response to Ottawa scoring less than two minutes into the game. Bergerons rebound score on a Zdeno Chara shot brought the momentum back to Boston.

HONORABLE MENTION: Zdeno Chara assisted on a pair of goals and enjoyed his third straight strong game while snapping out of his February mini-funk. It was Chara's big shot that set up Patrice Bergeron's goal to get the Bruins off and running in the first period, and he was otherwise solid in 22:54 of ice time for the Bruins. Perhaps better than any of this he stood up for his defensive partner, Johnny Boychuk, when he dropped the gloves with Chris Neil after the Senators car-bomb forward trucked over Boychuk at the beginning of the third period. Chara showed everything that goes into the package of an elite defenseman in a big game that the Bruins needed to have.

BLACK EYE: Finesse players shouldnt try dipping their toes into the dirty side of hockey. Thats exactly what Kyle Turris did when he left his skates and targeted an elbow at the head of Joe Corvo in the third period that drew a two-minute boarding call, but could get Brendan Shanahan dialing the Ottawa center up on line one. The Bs defenseman was okay after falling to the ice holding his head after impact, but the Turris play is exactly the kind of play the NHL is trying to wipe out: targeting the head as the primary point of contact. No place for that in an otherwise entertaining, intense hockey game. NESNs Jack Edwards called it a chicken hit. Im not going that far, but Turris should know better.

TURNING POINT: It wasnt quite the turning point in the game, but there was no mistaking the swing in momentum when Chris Neil turned himself into a human missile while planting Johnny Boychuk. The Bruins got the next goal, but the Senators suddenly came to life. The momentum pull got even stronger when Neil and Zdeno Chara went toe-to-toe following the heavy hockey hit, and Neil lived to tell about it after absorbing a couple of hard shots from the Bs captain. But in the end the Bruins had built up too much of an advantage for the Senators to hurdle over. It will be interesting, however, to see if the Ottawa confidence from Neils hit carries over into Tuesday nights game in Boston, and if Johnny Boychuks status for that game is affected.

BY THE NUMBERS: 25-0-0 the Bruins record when holding a lead headed into the third period even if things got a little dicey in Ottawa after a pair of Daniel Alfredsson strikes.

QUOTE TO NOTE: Ive definitely been dreaming about that. Practicing in the backyard or on the ice by yourself youre always of that first NHL goal. I saw the puck go in, saw everybody celebrating and it didnt even really hit me until I got back to the bench. Pretty cool. Bruins rookie Carter Campers first NHL goal in the second period that helped the Bs cause in their 5-3 win.

Ehrhoff signs a PTO with the B's after World Cup

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Ehrhoff signs a PTO with the B's after World Cup

The Bruins will add another veteran defenseman to their training camp group fresh off the World Cup of Hockey as German D-man Christian Ehrhoff is headed to Boston on a PTO (professional tryout agreement). CSN has confirmed that Ehrhoff has indeed agreed to a PTO with the Bruins, and he'll report to the team sometime this weekend.

The 34-year-old Ehrhoff had three assists in six World Cup games for Team Europe, and had two goals and 10 points in 48 games for the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks last season while clearly starting to slow down a bit. He’s clearly no longer the player that averaged 14 goals and 47 points for the Vancouver Canucks from 2009-2011, and is another left-shot defenseman to add to a team that already has Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug.

But it behooved the Bruins to bring in at least one “name” veteran D-man on a tryout basis during this training camp with so many needs for upgrades on the back end, and with a host of young players that might not be ready for prime time. This might also be a warning sign for young veteran Joe Morrow, a left shot D-man that has struggled a bit in training camp after coming off an erratic first full season at the NHL level.

Clearly the Bruins need more than Ehrhoff, however, even if he’s somehow re-energized with the Bruins after playing pretty well in the World Cup. The Kings were down enough on his game to put him through waivers last season, but he was a top-4 defenseman for the previous eight seasons for San Jose, Vancouver, Buffalo and Pittsburgh prior to getting bounced around between the Kings and Blackhawks last season.

The added bonus with taking a look at Ehrhoff is that there’s no risk associated with a PTO, and the Bruins can simply walk away with no cost if the B’s coaching staff decides he’s not a good fit for the group in Boston. On the other hand, bringing in a Kris Russell-type would cost a great deal in terms of money and term in a free agent contract, and it might not benefit the Black and Gold club in the end result. 

Carlo "ready for everything" as he looks to build on strong camp

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Carlo "ready for everything" as he looks to build on strong camp

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- Brandon Carlo enjoyed about as good a game as one could possibly hope for in his preseason debut earlier this week.

The 19-year-old was smooth and poised with the puck on his stick, and picked up an assist when Danton Heinen redirected his point blast to the back of the net. He was also a little dirty, mean and nasty in his own end throwing bodies around in front of the net, and at one point taking a penalty call when he was a little overzealous throwing an opponent down in the crease.

So the 6-foot-5 prospect gave a pretty good glimpse into what he can offer at his best, but the youngster also knows it will keep getting more and more difficult as the games get closer to the end of the preseason.

“In that first game I felt like I was doing a lot of really good things. I was moving the puck well, playing well and doing all of the things that I wanted to do. So I’m really excited to build on that opportunity. I feel like I started myself off well, but it’s about building throughout the camp to reach your main goal at the end,” said Carlo, who may be in line for top pair duties again on Friday night after skating in that role in his first game. “Throughout camp I got three games last year, and I noticed that with each game the action got harder and faster. So I’m ready for that. I feel like it’s going to be a lot of fun out there. I’m ready for the speed, and I’m ready for the physicality. I’m ready for everything.”

Carlo will again team with veteran puck-mover John-Michael Liles on Friday night in a road exhibition game against the Detroit Red Wings, and both he and the Bruins will be looking for him to build on that first outing’s promise. If the youngster can keep it up then the Bruins will have a really difficult choice on their hands with seven D-men already signed to NHL contracts ahead of the young prospect types, so Carlo would have to displace somebody.

But that’s another problem for another day, and will require young Carlo to keep impressing on people , and being extremely hard to play against, when the Bruins take the ice against the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena on Friday night.