OTTAWA (TICKER) —The Corel Centre remains an unwelcome place for the Boston Bruins.
Winless in their last eight visits to Ottawa, the Bruins rallied from a two-goal deficit with three consecutive tallies, including P.J. Axelsson’s 16th of the season midway through the third period.
But after defenseman Zdeno Chara scored his second goal in as many games to tie it, Bonk kept the Senators one point ahead of Dallas in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy.
Chara chipped a pass out of his own zone to Marian Hossa along the right boards. After crossing the blue line, Hossa sent a lead pass to Bonk, who outmuscled defenseman Bryan Berard and raced in alone on Jeff Hackett.
After a quick deke, Bonk slipped a backhander between the goalie’s pads for his 21st goal and the Senators’ fourth straight win. They improved to 23-4-2-1 in their last 30 home games.
“It was a good bounce on a high pass from Hoss,” Bonk said. “I actually thought the goalie was going to come out, but luckily, he stayed in the net and I squeezed it through his legs on the backhand. It was fun to get the winner in overtime. It is one of the best feelings.”
Joe Thornton tallied twice for Boston, which fell to 1-5-2-1 in its last nine on the road but moved within two points of sixth-place Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference.
“We’re just trying to get in the playoffs right now,” Thornton said. “To come out of here with a point gives us confidence now and we’re excited to go back home and play New Jersey (on Thursday). We’ll come out of here with our heads up.”
“I would have liked a different outcome, but it’s a good point to get in this building,” Bruins coach Robbie Ftorek said. “It’s unfortunate we didn’t win.”
After going 50 games without a goal, Rachunek scored in consecutive games before missing the finale of a home-and-home series with Pittsburgh due to a knee injury.
The Czech defenseman returned for this one and kept his streak intact, taking a cross-slot feed from Magnus Arvedson and beating Hackett to the glove side with 3:21 remaining in the first for a 1-0 lead.
“The last few games, I don’t seem to have the pressure on me like I’ve had before,” Rachunek said. “It was an unbelievable pass by Arvy. He showed patience until the play just opened up. This time, I tried to put it high. I’m glad the opening was there.”
Goalless in 65 games, Leschyshyn netted his first since March 16, 2002 when he tipped Martin Havlat’s wrist shot from the slot past Hackett 2:07 later.
The Bruins stormed back early in the second period and tied it on goals by Thornton in a 2:44 span.
With 11 seconds left on defenseman Don Sweeney’s holding penalty, Thornton seperated himself from Chara at center ice after getting a pass from Sean O’Donnell and beat Patrick Lalime on a breakaway 1:43 into the period to end a seven-game drought.
Thornton completed his seventh multi-goal game of the season less than three minutes later, blasting a one-timer from the right faceoff circle between Lalime’s pads while on the power play to draw Boston even.
“Glen (Murray) made a nice pass and I just one-timed that,” Thornton said. “It was just one of those, `You shoot and hope it goes in.’”
Less than three minutes after his backhander bounced off the crossbar, Axelsson gave the Bruins a 3-2 lead when he whacked the rebound of Murray’s one-timer past Lalime at 10:09 of the third.
“We worked hard to come back on this team,” O’Donnell said. “A 2-0 (deficit) is not an easy deficit to overcome. We still made a couple of mistakes, but we got a point out of it. That’s arguably the best team in the NHL and we played a pretty good game against them.”
But Chara picked up a point for the third straight game since returning from a chest injury to force overtime.
Bonk won a faceoff in the Bruins’ zone and drew the puck back to defenseman Chris Phillips at the left point. The 1996 top overall draft pick slid a pass to Chara, whose one-timer from above the slot dipped under Hackett’s right pad at 12:13.
“It started when Radek won the draw and Chris sent me a great, quick feed,” Chara said. “I was lucky a little bit and I got good wood on it. We’ve tried the play before, but I didn’t always get the shot through.”
In addition to the crossbar Axelsson hit, Lalime was helped by the right post when Marty McInnis’ shot rang a shot off it midway through the first period. Hackett also got help late in the second as rookie Jason Spezza’s shot from the slot hit the right post.