BOSTON â€” For the Ottawa Senators, snapping a four-game losing streak seemed almost secondary to the way they did it.
The Senators appeared ready for a return to the playoffs, ending an untimely skid with a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night.
“We wanted to see this as a seventh game because we want to be able to manage pressure,” coach Guy Boucher said. “We’ve got a lot of young guys in there â€” a lot of guys who haven’t gone to the playoffs in the NHL and had a lot of pressure moments.”
The Senators were in an 0-2-2 slump and facing a team that could have pulled within two points of them for second place in the Atlantic Division. Instead, they headed home with a six-point cushion on the Bruins and a building sense of confidence.
Kyle Turris scored twice and Craig Anderson made 33 saves as the Senators improved to 3-0 against Boston this season. Tom Pyatt also scored and Mike Hoffman had two assists for Ottawa, which won despite being outshot 36-22.
Anderson stymied Boston with 18 saves in the second period, then again in the third after Torey Krug tied it for the Bruins just 17 seconds into the period.
Turris restored the lead a few minutes later and Ottawa never flinched as the Bruins pressed to keep their own losing streak from reaching three straight.
“I liked our third period. I thought our third period was good,” Boucher said. “The minute we scored that goal, after that we looked like ourselves. We looked in control of where we were defensively. When we had the puck we had more poise. We gained that over the course of the game.”
Krug had a goal and an assist, and David Krejci also scored in Boston’s third consecutive defeat. The Bruins were coming off a 4-2 loss at Toronto on Monday night and never recovered from a flat start at home Tuesday.
The Bruins remained in playoff position, third in the division with nine games to play, but missed out on another chance to widen their lead over the pack of teams pushing for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.
“We know where we are at this point of the year. Points are huge and teams are going to show up and be ready to play us,” centre Patrice Bergeron said.
The Bruins faced another round of questions about fading down the stretch and missing the playoffs the last two years. Could it happen again?
“There’s a lot of guys in that room who weren’t here last year, myself included,” said interim coach Bruce Cassidy, who is 12-6-0 since replacing Claude Julien in early February. “We’d like to write our own story.”
Even with the sluggish start, the game did have a little bit of a playoff feel to it. Both teams were physical all night, with several hits after the whistle and some more pushing and shoving after the final horn. The officials separated the players before the postgame scrum turned into anything more.
“It was just one of those games where both teams are fighting for their playoff lives and that just made for a hard, gritty, hard-nosed hockey game,” Anderson said. “They were crashing the net hard. We were crashing their net, getting traffic and momentum as we were going back and forth. You know, it was just one of those games where tempers start to go and emotions get involved and guys care.”
Early in the third, Krug took the puck end-to-end and skated through a pair of Senators before beating Anderson for an unassisted power-play goal. The Bruins opened the period with the man advantage after Dion Phaneuf was called for unsportsmanlike conduct at the end of the second following scrums among several players on the ice.
Phaneuf made up for his mistake later in the third with an assist on Turris’ game-winner. Turris tipped a shot by Phaneuf and the puck changed direction again when it hit Boston captain Zdeno Chara on its way to the back of the net.
NOTES: The Senators return to Boston on April 6 for the fourth and final meeting of the regular season. … Anderson played his 499th career game. … Senators C Chris Kelly played his first game in Boston since breaking his leg as a member of the Bruins on Nov. 3, 2015, keeping him out for the rest of last season. … Ottawa RW Mark Stone missed his sixth straight game with a leg injury but has resumed skating and is getting closer to returning, Boucher said. … Boston LW Tim Schaller (lower-body injury) missed his sixth consecutive game.
Senators: Back home Thursday against Pittsburgh, then on the road for five straight.
Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.
Doug Alden, The Associated Press