Senators lament clincher that wasn’t with series headed to Boston

Sean Kuraly's second goal of the game at 10:19 of the second overtime gave the Boston Bruins a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators in Game 5.

OTTAWA — It was just after midnight on Saturday when Dion Phaneuf, still covered in sweat after playing nearly five periods of hockey in a game that started the night before, hit the nail on the head about the feeling among his Ottawa Senators.

“It definitely stinks,” the veteran defenceman said, from underneath the brim of a black Senators ball cap. “They’re emotional games.”

Long ones, too.

It took 90 minutes and 19 seconds — nearly five full periods — before a decision was made in Game 5, a 3-2 double-overtime win for the Bruins to force a Game 6 on Sunday in Boston.

Friday night started off looking like Ottawa was going to close out this series with a fourth straight victory. But the Senators blew a two-goal lead and the Bruins fought back — from a two-goal deficit, from a rash of bad and untimely penalties the Senators couldn’t convert on, and from two called-back goals in the first frame of overtime — to keep their playoff hopes alive.

[snippet id=3317575]

“It’s just brutal,” said Senators centreman Derick Brassard, straight-faced, looking both defeated and tired, standing in the dressing room in his socks and sweaty dry-fit clothes. “You spend five periods of energy and battle and you come up short.”

The game-winning goal — only the second career NHL goal from Bruins centreman Sean Kuraly, and his second of the night — silenced this sold-out crowd of 19,209.

“It was just awesome to get that,” a grinning Kuraly said. “Wow, feels good to get the win.”

Both Craig Anderson (40 saves) and Tuukka Rask (37 saves) were spectacular, and kept this game going.

Overtime was downright crazy, especially the first one.

The Bruins thought they had it — twice. The first came from Kuraly, who charged in and saw the puck trickle over the goal-line, but he tripped over Anderson on his way by and saw his goal called back due to goaltender interference, with the referee ruling Kuraly interfered with Anderson before the puck crossed the line.

It was a questionable call, to be sure, and you could see that written all over the face of Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy.

Less than two minutes after that, there was a big crowd in front of Anderson and the puck was sliding toward the line, but Senators centreman Jean-Gabriel Pageau slid across the goal-line and kept it out.

Both near-goals were reviewed. And both times, this capacity crowd at Canadian Tire Centre went silent to listen to the referee call: “No goal.” And then the crowd promptly exploded.

“It was close,” Pageau said, of that near-goal. “It was good that we had the chance to keep the game going, and had the chance to get the game-winner.”

Both no-goal calls meant another chance for the Senators to close this series out. “I think we needed to take advantage of that,” Pageau said. “But it’s too late now.”

The Ottawa-born Pageau nearly had the game of his life. Not only did he extend his team’s game by saving a goal, but he scored to make it 2-0 in the second, getting a nice breakaway pass from Viktor Stalberg, and making a couple quick fakes, before sliding the puck through Rask’s legs.

Pageau, who’d yet to find the net in the post-season, then skated up the boards and pumped both his arms, getting this towel-swinging crowd into it.

“I was trying really hard since I started this series, and it wasn’t going in. Finally got it bouncing my way,” he said. “It feels good.”

Would have felt even better if that goal he scored and the one he stopped led to a victory, though. “Obviously would have been a big moment for me and the team,” Pageau said.

Could have been, too. The Senators certainly had their chances to close this one out. As he was headed out of the penalty box in overtime, Senators winger Clarke MacArthur got a breakaway pass, but it went off his skate, and he headed to the bench instead. MacArthur also just missed an open net in the second period, on a pass in close from Brassard, but he sent the puck wide.

Boston dominated the first half of the third, and Ottawa didn’t get a first shot on net in the frame until nearly 11 minutes in, though it was near deadly. Mark Stone — who scored about half-way through the first for Ottawa to make it 1-0 — sent a pass up ice to a streaking Mike Hoffman, who charged up the left wing and rifled a wrist shot that squeaked under Rask’s arm and trickled just a couple inches to the side of the far post.

Boston also took two bad penalties late in the third — over the glass in the defensive end, and too-many-men with just 2:28 to go — but survived both. Ottawa had plenty of chances: Hoffman almost put in a bouncing puck, and Phaneuf went on a rush and his shot went just high.

“We had some really good chances there at the end of the third period, I can’t remember, one of those periods that we played,” said Brassard. (Who can blame him for forgetting: It was a long game). “We didn’t get it done… Now we have to turn the page and [look] forward to tomorrow.”

The second period was just 30 seconds old when Pageau made it 2-0, but the Bruins cut the lead to one when Brad Marchand skated around the net a la wraparound and then backhanded it in close to David Pastrnak, who put it top shelf to make it 2-1.

It was Marchand’s first assist and just his second point in what has a quiet post-season for the winger who had 39 goals in the regular season.

Kuraly, who was inserted into the lineup for Game 5 in place of a banged-up Ryan Spooner, was behind Ottawa’s net when he tried the wraparound on the backhand, and it hit Senators defenceman Chris Wideman on the skate and found the back of the net to make it 2-2.

It was perfect timing for Kuraly to step up — near the end of the first period, a knee-on-knee hit between Senators defenceman Chris Wideman and Bruins forward David Krejci sent Krejci straight to the dressing room, and he didn’t return.

Still, the Bruins pressed on.

“Do-or-die game, we knew they were gonna come hard,” Stone said. “They weren’t just gonna roll over and die.”

The Senators got the type of start they wanted. Just over 11 minutes in, Stone slipped in behind the Bruins defence and skated into a perfect saucer breakaway pass from Hoffman. Stone made a move to his forehand, shifted to his backhand, and slipped the puck over Rask’s blocker to make it 1-0, sending this crowd into a towel-waving tizzy.

The towels they were waving? They appropriately featured a picture of Stone.

With his first career playoff goal, the 24-year-old Winnipegger ended a 59-day, 19-game-long scoreless streak that stretched back to Feb. 19. He celebrated with his teammates, grinning like a kid in a candy store.

There was no grin post-game, though. “It sucks when you lose the game, so hard to look at that right now,” he said, of breaking the drought. “When you’re in that situation, a chance to close out the series, you wanna close out the series, and we didn’t get the job done.”

So it’s on to Game 6 in a series that has featured three overtimes, and all five games so far decided by one goal.

“We’re still one game away,” said Anderson. “That’s all it is. One game away, one win.”


When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.