There was no denying Jason Spezza’s relief Friday night.
The Ottawa Senators captain was instrumental to his team scoring four unanswered goals to beat the Boston Bruins 4-2.
With the victory, the Senators put an end to the Bruins 11-game winning streak in Ottawa. It’s been so long since the Senators beat the Bruins at home that only Spezza, Chris Neil and Chris Phillips remain on the roster from their last victory.
The win was that much more rewarding considering the Senators were coming off a 5-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers Tuesday night.
“We feel like that’s a gritty win for us getting down a couple goals against a team we hold to a high standard,” said Spezza. “It’s a big emotional win for us for sure.”
Jared Cowen, who has had his share of struggles this season, scored the winning goal.
“It’s a good step for him, not just from scoring, but I thought he had a real solid game against a real difficult team and difficult opponents,” said Senators coach Paul MacLean. “I thought both he and Eric Gryba were very competitive and very physical in the match-ups that they had against difficult opponents.”
Spezza, Bobby Ryan and Neil also scored for the Senators (8-7-4). Craig Anderson was solid stopping 30 shots.
Loui Eriksson and Brad Marchand scored for the Bruins (12-6-1), as Rask faced 31 shots.
After a rough start, things turned around for the Senators with a solid third period effort that was spearheaded by its captain.
Spezza tied the game 2-2 early in the third, scoring from the side of the net off a pass from Karlsson at the point. It was Spezza’s first goal in five games.
“It’s been a few games for me and it was an important game,” said Spezza. “We were using this game as a bit of a measuring stick and it was a big goal.”
Rask said he felt the Bruins started off strong but had a few lapses throughout.
“It’s one of those days when you’re not on top of your game you don’t even know he’s there and I didn’t know (Spezza) was there,” Rask said. “I stretched myself there, but I couldn’t get my pad on it and it’s a goal.”
The goal seemed to energize the Senators and the 19,538 on hand. Anderson then made a great save on Carl Soderberg. Soderberg had a second chance and kept shoving at the puck until it crossed the line, but upon review it was clear the whistle had blown.
“It was a good rebound game for everybody,” said Anderson. “We’ve got something we can build off of now.”
The Senators took their first lead of the game at 5:42 on Cowen’s third of the season as he beat Rask through the legs.
Ryan’s goal at the halfway mark of the period sealed the victory as he picked Reilly Smith’s pocket and then beat Rask through the legs to give Ottawa a 4-2 lead.
The only downside of the period was seeing Ryan leave the game with just over three minutes remaining after taking an elbow to the head by Dennis Seidenberg. There was no penalty on the play.
MacLean said he was given no explanation by the officials and, in his opinion, believes the play is worthy of being reviewed.
“All the ones that you see around the league in the first 20 games, it certainly seems that one could be reviewed as well,” the Senators coach said.
Ryan will be re-evaluated Saturday as MacLean had no further updates on the winger’s status following the game.
Seidenberg felt for Ryan and said there was no intent to injure him.
“The puck is loose, I’m going for the puck and I’m turning into the puck and I think he’s reaching,” said Seidenberg. “I would never go after a guy’s head and I hope he’s fine so that’s all I can say.”
The second period left much to be desired, as neither team seemed overly interested in taking control of the game.
Ottawa had a terrible start to the period, giving up two goals and being outshot 13-6.
Eriksson opened the scoring at the six-minute mark as he tipped Matt Bartkowski’s shot. Just over three minutes later the Bruins made it 2-0 as Marchand made his way between Zack Smith and Colin Greening and beat Anderson with a great wrist shot.
The Senators salvaged the period in the final minute as Neil scored his third of the season and beat Rask to the top left corner to make it 2-1.
“Any time you score late in the period, it’s a big momentum swing for you if you can take advantage of it,” said MacLean. “I felt we were getting stronger and better as the game went along.”
The Senators wrap-up their five-game homestand Sunday afternoon against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Notes: Defencemen Patrick Wiercioch and Joe Corvo were healthy scratches for the Senators. Right-winger Erik Condra missed his sixth straight game with a leg injury a The Bruins were without defenceman Adam McQuaid who has a lower body injury and right-winger Jordan Caron was a healthy scratch.