BOSTON â€” Guy Boucher doesn’t want the Ottawa Senators to get too wrapped up in eliminating Boston when they take the ice for Game 5 of their first-round series with the Bruins on Friday night.
“I never see them as elimination games,” the Ottawa coach said at the team’s hotel Thursday morning. “That’s my experience. When I start thinking of that, that’s where guys get nervous, they get anxious, they want to overdo things, they want to get things done right away in the first five minutes.
“You get totally lost in that kind of excitement, so for me it’s we’re going to play another game and it’s going to be another one-goal game and it’s going to be extremely hard. They’re going to be at their most desperate â€” they were desperate yesterday and they’re going to be even more desperate the next game, so we have to be extremely ready and prepared for it.”
Ottawa, which leads the series 3-1, has history on its side. The Bruins have never come back from a such a deficit to win a series, going 0-for-22.
“Oh my goodness, I couldn’t care less about history â€” history is different people at different times and different circumstances,” said Boucher, “so it’s all about us right now against the Bruins. They’re been a great opponent all year long and we’re expecting nothing less the next game â€” we’re expecting a one-goal game, an overtime and really we’re just focusing on the first 10 minutes of the next game.”
Ottawa forward Kyle Turris agreed that the team can’t get too far ahead of itself.
“It’s important but you’re not thinking, ‘Oh we have to do this,'” he said. “We’re going into next game just thinking the same way we have all series: just playing our system, trying to limit what they get and score on the opportunities we do get to just to kind of give us a chance. If it doesn’t happen next game, we’re going to do the same thing the game after.”
Wednesday night’s 1-0 victory gave the Sens a 7-1 record against Boston this season. All the games have been decided by two goals or less, and three of them have gone to overtime.
Asked why these games have been so close, Boucher said: “Because there are two good teams that are going at each other and nobody wants to give up.”
Craig Anderson, 8-1 against Boston in his last nine starts, pitched his fourth career playoff shutout and Bobby Ryan scored off yet another nifty play by Erik Karlsson in the third period to give the Senators a sweep of the two games in Boston.
With the Bruins defence decimated by injuries â€” three of their top four defencemen are out â€” Karlsson has been freer than usual to work his magic.
In Game 2 in Ottawa, his wizardry led to a setup for Derick Brassard for the tying goal in the third period. In Game 3, he was a key in three of the four Ottawa goals, earning actual assists on two of them.
Then, Wednesday, he saw the path to the goal was actually shooting the puck wide, letting it hit the boards and come out to Bobby Ryan, who was behind defenceman Charlie McAvoy, playing in only his fourth NHL game.
Ryan slipped the puck past Tuukka Rask and Zdeno Chara, the tallest man ever to play in the NHL, couldn’t prevent it from crawling over the goal line with his dive.
“I think you look at the NHL and there’s a handful of guys that are able to make those type of plays,” said Boucher. “Whether it’s the Crosbys, or Johnny Tavares and those guys, or its Erik â€¦ that’s what makes them those guys.
“They’re able to see through the traffic in times of pressure, their minds seem to be working either faster than everybody else or they seem to be able to slow down the pace of the game in their minds to a level that not a lot of guys can do.”
It was Ryan’s third goal of the series and his second winner. He has four goals in the last five games following a 13-game goal drought.
Boucher liked the way his team played in the third period Wednesday, getting the lead and frustrating the Bruins to help Anderson finish off the shutout. Boston had only five shots in the third, the last two by Brad Marchand, his fifth and sixth of the game. He was stopped twice on breakaways in the first period and has but one goal in his last 24 playoff games.
But the Sens are expecting the Bruins to again come out storming, this time with their season on the line.
NOTES: Boucher said the play of rookie D Ben Harpur has allowed the team to be cautious on the return of Mark Borowiecki, who missed the two games in Boston with a lower body injury. â€¦ Tom Pyatt, who suffered an upper body injury on a heavy and high hit by Kevan Miller in Game 4, was still being evaluated. … Senators F Ryan Dzingel was asked about the rowdy fans and the atmosphere at TD Garden and said, with a laugh, “I grew up in Chicago so I never really liked you guys in the first place.” … If the Bruins win Friday night, Game 6 will be back in Boston Sunday.
â€” With files from The Associated Press
Mike Shalin, The Canadian Press
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version had Mark Borowiecki misspelled.