Senators win another 1-goal contest in Boston, could finish series Friday
April 20, 2017, 8:31 AM ET [47 Comments]
Ottawa Senators Blogger • RSS • Archive • CONTACT
Hockey truly is a game of inches, and that fact was never more apparent than game 4 between the Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators.
Tied 0-0 in the second period, Charlie McAvoy's shot was tipped past Craig Anderson to give the Bruins a one goal lead....but then the coach's challenge on the offside showed that Noel Acciari was just a little too eager to get in on the forecheck and was slightly, but obviously, offside.
That was the only shot to beat Craig Anderson, who had a bounce-back game and has actually played 4 shutout periods since the second frame on Monday where he was beat 3 times on 7 shots. Anderson stoned Brad Marchand twice on first period breakaways, the second one with a risky but effective pokecheck, and then once again stymied the Bruins' top sniper in the waning moments right at the side of the net to preserve the win and the shutout.
Anderson wasn't overly busy, facing just 22 shots, but he was good when he needed to be and it allowed his club to eke out the win and have a chance to eliminate the Bruins at Canadian Tire Centre on Friday night.
That is because Ottawa's three best players in this series combined to score the only goal of the game 5:49 into the third, and it was Bobby Ryan who finished off a tremendous slap-pass from Erik Karlsson for his second straight game-winner in Beantown. Derick Brassard also earned an assist on the play, as the trio each have 5 points on Ottawa's 10 goals in the series.
The Senators lost Tom Pyatt early on after a collision with Kevan Miller, and he did not return. Pyatt is valuable in his role, but certainly not irreplaceable and if he can't go on Friday, Tommy Wingels will likely slide seamlessly into the lineup to fill his spot.
It has been a tough four day stretch for Boston playoff teams, as the top-seeded Celtics dropped both of their home games on Sunday and Tuesday to the Chicago Bulls, while the Bruins followed those games up the next night with losses as well.
Through four games of this series, there hasn't been much to choose between the Senators and Bruins. A bounce in game 1 and the Senators could have already put this one away with a sweep, and each game has been so close that the Bruins probably should be tied if not having a 3-1 lead of their own.
Close or not, Ottawa will take the 3-1 series lead, a point from which they have never lost a playoff series. Historically, almost 90% of the time a team takes a 3-1 series lead, they go on to win the series.
I said before game 4 that the Senators needed a big performance from Anderson, and that is what they got. I also said that it is only a matter of time before Marchand and Patrice Bergeron broke out. Marchand was close but was frustrated by Anderson, who won that head to head battle, this time. Ottawa has played that matchup so well, but they can't afford to let them get going because this series is far from over and the Bruins haven't yet put forward their best effort. Then again, neither have the Senators.