BOSTON – One team went into the Olympic break with a roar, the other with a pathetic whimper.
One might have thought the Ottawa Senators would be the team with plenty of fight, since they're in the middle of a giant scrum for one of the final Eastern Conference playoff spots. But they were dominated from start to finish as the Bruins, sitting comfortably atop the Atlantic Division and setting their sights on the conference's top seed, cruised to a 7-2 win Saturday at TD Garden.
The one-sided victory gave the Bruins an 8-1-2 record in their final 11 games before the break. The seven goals is the most they've scored in a single game this season.
Patrice Bergeron was the dominant force, potting a pair of goals in a fitting sendoff as he heads to Sochi, Russia as a member of Team Canada. He nd finished with three points in an top-six forward offensive explosion that’s now been ongoing for the last three weeks.
Perhaps more eye-opening was a careless, effortless defensive showing from the Senators, who continually allowed the Bruins to get to the front of the net for Grade A scoring chances.
A pair of give-and-go plays in the first period resulted in Bergeron and Chris Kelly goals, as they directed pucks directly in front of the net past Craig Anderson. Bergeron burned Erik Karlsson for another score to start the second period, and Jarome Iginla followed with a redirect in front of the net after Bobby Ryan had scored Ottawa's first goal.
Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand and Carl Soderberg poured it on in the third period as the Bruins put an exclamation point on their sprint to the Olympic break. Patrick Wiercioch added a third-period goal for the Senators.
GOLD STAR: Patrice Bergeron finished up his pre-Olympic schedule in style with a pair of goals, three points, eight generated shot attempts and a blocked shot to go along with an “okay” 6-for-13 in the face-off circle. The move to start the scoring in the second period scorched both Erik Karlsson and Craig Anderson, and let them know it wasn’t going to be their night. It was Bergeron that really set the tone for the rest of the team with his concentration despite having Sochi travel plans and impending Olympic responsibilities weighing down on him. Bergeron essentially acted as the captain for the B’s while Zdeno Chara was in Russia, and the Bruins took 3-of-4 points while playing a hard brand of hockey. That’s a team playing in the mold of their leader.
BLACK EYE: Jared Cowen was a minus-4 with no shots in 20:44 of ice time, and was part of an Ottawa defensemen crew that really struggled in the onslaught of the Bruins attack. Erik Karlsson was just as bad with a minus-2 effort in 25:27 of ice time for the Sens, and looked distracted while getting scorched by Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand on successive plays in the second period. As Bergeron set the tone for the Bruins, the seemingly disinterested Karlsson set the tone for Ottawa headed into the final game. The entire game was an indictment on a Senators bunch that just doesn’t look ready for prime time to me.
TURNING POINT: The big moment arrived when Bobby Ryan fired a goal past Chad Johnson with less than three minutes to go in the second period to make it a 3-1 game, and perhaps Ottawa was gathering some momentum. The Bruins stormed right back with Jarome Iginla scoring his 17th goal of the season 1:03 later, and the Bruins effectively wobbled a Senators bunch that was looking for reasons to quit. At that point the B’s just poured it on offensively, and the Senators looked like they were already warming up the bus in the final 22 minutes of the game.
HONORABLE MENTION: Jarome Iginla finished up his incendiary two-week run with a goal, two points, and nine shot attempts while taking up a huge space in front of the net against a capitulating Sens defense corps. Iginla also added four hits in his 16:31 of ice time in giving some physical presence in a game where the Sens didn’t want to fight outside of Zack Smith, and look what happened to that poor guy. Iginla finished with 14 points (4 goals, 10 assists) in his final eight games prior to the Olympic break.
BY THE NUMBERS: 7 – the number of goals scores by the Bruins today was a season-high after they’d reached six goals in a five four times this season.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I was pretty impressed with our whole approach to the game. Guys could have been pretty distracted by outside things, but they never it take away from their focus.” –Claude Julien, on potential Olympic break distractions that didn’t apply in the 7-2 thrashing.