It was sort of like Wednesday’s game, only in reverse.
And while it was not exactly the blueprint for victory the Ottawa Senators had in mind, their 4-3 comeback overtime win over the Boston Bruins here on Saturday provided them with a hefty confidence boost as the playoff series starts to churn to life.
Ex-Calgary Flame and ex-Toronto Maple Leaf Dion Phaneuf scored the winner, his low shot from the point beating screened Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask to the right side to end the affair at the one minute 59 second mark of the first extra period.
With the win, the Senators have knotted the best-of-seven game National Hockey League Eastern Conference quarterfinal at one game apiece, with hostilities set to resume in Boston for the next two games, beginning with Game 3 on Monday night.
“That’s the biggest one I’ve scored,” said the 32-year-old Phaneuf, losing a battle afterward in the Senators locker to try to keep a big grin from forming on his face.
As his teammates mobbed Phaneuf along the boards near centre ice following his dramatic goal, pandemonium also prevailed in the stands as over 18,000 jubilant fans at the Canadian Tire Centre celebrated an outcome that seemed farfetched just a bit earlier.
After a scoreless opening period, the Bruins scored three times in the second period to take a 3-1 lead into the third, and the Senators knew they had their work cut out for them if they wanted to avoid heading back to Boston trailing 2-0 in a series.
It was the exact opposite scenario on Wednesday in the first game of the playoff where it was the Senators who ran roughshod over Boston for most of the first two periods, only to cough up two goals in the third that allowed the Bruins to sneak off with a 2-1 win.
It was an emotional night all-around for the Senators.
The first Ottawa goal was potted by Clarke MacArthur on the power play midway through the second period, and it tied the score at 1-1 after Drew Stafford had scored earlier for the Bruins.
It was an emotional moment for MacArthur as he has missed the most of the last two seasons battling back from a series of concussions. The goal was his first since April 19, 2015.
“I was excited,” MacArthur said of the moment. “I’m not crying this time, just happy, really happy to get one there.
“For us to fight back like we did in the third, we’re not quitting this series. No matter what happens we’re going to go right to the end and see what happens.”
Ottawa coach Guy Boucher said to see MacArthur score after the struggles he has been though was one of the highlights of his coaching career. He said he got goosebumps when MacArthur snapped the puck from the slot in behind Rask.
“When he raised his arms I think the whole city did at the same time and I think it was very special,” Boucher said.
The Senators listed badly after that as the Bruins pressed, breaking through with a shorthanded effort by Tim Schaller after Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson got caught way out of his net trying to clear the puck.
It was gobbled up behind the net by Riley Nash who shovelled it out in front where Schaller was able to fire it home to make the score 2-1.
A bit later, Patrice Bergeron got just enough of his stick on a slapper by teammate David Pastrnak to redirect the puck in behind Anderson while Boston was on the power play – and the Bruins were suddenly up two.
But the Senators charged into the third period, confident in their abilities to battle back, and a seeing-eye wrist shot by Chris Wideman from the blueline, through a traffic jam in front, cut the Boston lead to 3-2 at the 5:28 mark.
Then came the equalizer by Derick Brassard on a beautiful setup from Erik Karlsson, who circled the top of the zone before feeding a cross-ice pass that Brassard one-timed into a gaping net.
“We just continued to do what we’ve done all year, and that’s stick to it, stick to it,” Phaneuf said. “And we found a way and it feels real good because they’ve got a real good team over there. We find a way to fight back down two, tie it up and overtime. It’s just a great feeling.”
Boucher was asked what was said between the second and third periods that bolstered the resolve of his players. He spoke about the resiliency and soul the Senators have faced all season battling through injuries to make the postseason.
“Adversity builds you or destroys you,” Boucher said. “We choose to see it as a builder.”Report Typo/Error
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