Entering this season, only Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Andrew Ference and Tim Thomas knew what it feels like to have a losing record in a Boston Bruins uniform after one month and 10 games. Yep, they all lived to tell about the blunderstruck 2006-07 season spent under the misguidance of Dave Lewis.
The rest of the active Bruins at least know what it is like to latch on to America’s oldest NHL franchise with the assignment to elevate the team’s standards. Milan Lucic is one of those who know how to sniff out a refreshing exit from the doldrums.
For the better part of Tuesday night’s hard-earned 5-3 home triumph over the Ottawa Senators, the survivors of the brief Lewis era and the dawn of Claude Julien’s ongoing tenure were piloting the pace. By the time Boston busted ahead for good, the contributions were coming from more of the more recent additives.
Bergeron and linemate Brad Marchand led the team with three shots through the first intermission and four registered stabs at the second break.
Lucic and Bergeron were the ones who struck to delete 1-0 and 2-1 deficits, respectively. And they were responsible for drawing Ottawa’s first two penalties. Less than two minutes after one-time Bruins’ blueliner Sergei Gonchar hooked Bergeron, Lucic polished off a rare power-play conversion to draw a 1-1 knot at 7:12 of the opening frame.
Chara assisted on Lucic’s goal, matched the young power forward’s output of three hits in the first 40 minutes and set up Boston’s first go-ahead goal, inserted by Chris Kelly with two minutes left in the second.
Compared to most of his peers, Ference saw relatively minimal ice time with only 15 minutes and 14 seconds of action. But he used that time to block the very first shot attempt of the game, help confine the Senators’ league-leading power play to only one shot on three opportunities and post a plus-two rating.
Putting in his eighth full-length appearance of the season, Thomas barred Ottawa from augmenting its leads to a two-goal gap, averted what might have been his first four-goal outing of the year and drew an opposing penalty himself.
Meanwhile, slick sophomore Tyler Seguin drew the Bruins’ third power play with a hooking infraction tagged on top Ottawa gun Jason Spezza at 6:30 of the second. That was barely two minutes after Seguin ensured that he maintained his point-per-game pace with the primary helper on Bergeron’s goal that made it 2-2.
From there, the home team highlights were generated chiefly by those who have been in Boston for two full years at the most as the Bruins permanently usurped the role of frontrunners.
The ex-Senator Kelly converted a pass from fellow 2011 trade deadline import Rich Peverley for Boston’s first lead. He later helped to renew that lead to 4-3 on a feed to Johnny Boychuk before Daniel Paille finalized the 5-3 upshot.