Bruins battle for win
Boychuk, Corvo banged up by hits
OTTAWA - The Bruins left Scotiabank Place with 2 points last night, but they also left with key defensemen Johnny Boychuk and Joe Corvo banged and bruised, each the victim of some late heavy hitting by the Senators.
Final score: Bruins 5, Senators 3, and an otherwise impressive wrap to a road trip that brought the Bruins back to Causeway Street with a 3-2-1 record for their 11-day tour. Patrice Bergeron (two goals), Brad Marchand, rookie Carter Camper, and David Krejci scored, leaving the defending Cup champs with a 5-point lead over the Senators in the fight for first place in the Northeast Division.
“We made some mistakes tonight,’’ said team captain Zdeno Chara, noting the Bruins had a 4-1 lead halfway through the third period and then found themselves in a real struggle to close out the 2 points. “But we won, and we finished off the road trip pretty strong.’’
Boychuk was rocked by a steaming Chris Neil check with less than three minutes gone in the third period, made his way into the dressing room and was done for the night. Corvo was hammered in the head by ex-Coyote Kyle Turris at the 5:00 mark of the third period, a hit that was initially posted as major but made it into the scoresheet as a minor for boarding.
Of the two, the latter was the uglier, although Corvo was able to finish out the period.
Asked after the win if he had any argument with either hit, Bruins coach Claude Julien shrugged and said, “There’s enough whining going on with calls,’’ and further noted it’s for the league to determine the good hits from the bad.
“Let’s play the game,’’ added Julien.
Boychuk left the Boston dressing room at 10:07 p.m. to make his way to the team bus, and clearly was in no mood to talk as he reached to insert earbuds and listen to music as a reporter approached. Asked if he were OK, Boychuk only said, ’’Yeah,’’ and kept walking to the bus.
Chara, the 6-foot-9-inch Trencin Tower of Power, didn’t quibble with the big hit on Boychuk, but he did feel compelled to stick up for his partner. With 7:00 left in the third, he threw down with Neil out of a faceoff and landed a couple of nasty punches before losing his balance and falling. Neil, with Chara down and vulnerable, resisted the urge to pound away, in part because he was somewhat held back by the linesmen.
“It’s part of the game,’’ said Chara, never eager to fight. “It was a clean hit . . . a big, solid, clean hit. Still, I am going to step up for my partner. It was a clean hit, but it’s what we do, we care for each other. It is unfortunate. I hope Johnny is going to be OK. We have to show respect for our teammates.’’
Both Boychuk and Corvo made the bus and were on the flight’s manifest. Julien figures both will be OK. Boychuck, he said, got caught with his head down, and was held out for the rest of the game per standard protocol.
“He’s feeling better already,’’ said Julien, later adding that Corvo was OK, but also noting that he felt a replay would show that Turris delivered his hit to the blueliner’s head.
Otherwise, the Bruins took a 3-1 lead into the third period - only the fourth time in 20 games that they weren’t behind or tied after 40 minutes.
Camper, called up from Providence early in this trip, connected for the only goal in the middle period, shoveling home a loose puck off Adam McQuaid’s shot with 3:57 gone in the period.
“I’ve dreamed about scoring my first NHL goal pretty much my whole life,’’ said the happy Camper.
Struggling to mount leads in most of their games the last six weeks, the Bruins potted a pair in the first period and held a 2-1 lead after 2-0 minutes, both strikes coming after puck-carrying wizard Erik Karlsson launched the Senators to a 1-0 lead with only 70 seconds ticked off the clock.
Bergeron potted the equalizer at 3:46, knocking home a forehander from the top of the crease after Chara hammered in a one-time slapper. Ex-Bruin goalie Alex Auld made the stop, but the ever-alert Bergeron gathered in the puck off of Auld’s left pad and knocked home his 18th this season.
Bergeron then made the key feed for Boston’s second goal, dishing to his left as he and Brad Marchand broke the blue line on the rush. Marchand collected the dish just above the left wing circle and snapped in No. 22. It was the third goal in three games for the Lil’ Ball o’ Hate.
Krejci added his goal in the third period for a 4-1 lead and Ottawa’s Daniel Alfredsson followed with two one-time bombs to cut the lead to 4-3 with 2:08 to go in regulation. Without Boychuk, the Bruins struggled, even more with Chara sent off for his fight with Neil. Bergeron then sent a long shot into an empty net with 18.2 seconds to go for the 5-3 final.
“I’m not going to say we’re out of it, then shoot myself in the foot,’’ said Julien, asked if his club had shaken its malaise. “But I’d say it’s encouraging.’’