One game after a disheartening meltdown resulted in a costly defeat, the Boston Bruins bounced back with a late four-goal flurry to regain sole possession of first place.
They’ll hope to carry the momentum into a four-game homestand as they try to hand the sputtering Ottawa Senators a sixth consecutive loss Tuesday night.
The Bruins (22-12-7) led Montreal 2-0 with 2:30 left in regulation Saturday, but the Canadiens rallied for a 3-2 overtime win, temporarily tying Boston at the top of the Northeast Division.
On the short end of the same 2-0 deficit with 3:30 remaining Monday in Pittsburgh, the Bruins responded. They pulled even with two goals in a 13-second span, then went ahead on Mark Recchi’s(notes) tally in the final minute before adding an empty-netter in the 4-2 win.
“In hockey, those things happen and usually over the course of the year you win some and lose some that way,” goalie Tuukka Rask(notes) said. “Back-to-back situations like this, it doesn’t usually happen. But we made it happen.”
Two of Boston’s late goals - including the game-winner - came on the power play, which had gone 0 for 13 in the previous five games, four of them losses.
Still, three of those defeats came after regulation, and the Bruins have earned at least a point in eight of their last nine - a 5-1-3 stretch.
The Senators (16-20-6) only wish they could say the same, having totaled seven goals during a season-worst five-game losing streak. Their punchless offense suffered another blow when veteran forward Alex Kovalev(notes) felt discomfort in his knee following Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Tampa Bay.
“When you’re losing it’s definitely an uphill battle to get back on the winning end,” center Zack Smith(notes) said. “We’re confident we will and once we do I think we’ll be able to capitalize on the chances.”
Offensive improvement may be difficult to come by against Boston, which has allowed an NHL-low 88 goals (2.15 per game). Likely starter Tim Thomas(notes) is 12-3-1 with a 1.52 goals-against average in his last 16 starts against Ottawa.
The Bruins hope Marc Savard(notes) can help spark a better offensive effort. Savard has 17 points in his last 12 games against the Senators, but he’s been held to six in 18 games this season since returning from post-concussion symptoms.
It’s unclear if Nathan Horton(notes) will be available for Boston after missing the last two games due to an undisclosed injury. Milan Lucic(notes), a frequent linemate of Horton’s, leads the Bruins with 16 goals but has none in his last 11 games.