OTTAWA, Ontario (AP)Wins haven’t come easily for Ottawa this season. On Monday night, the Senators found a way to beat one of the top teams in the NHL.
Anthony Duclair had two goals and one assist, and Anders Nilsson made 38 saves as the Senators (13-17-1) beat the Boston Bruins 5-2 Monday night.
“We played a pretty solid game,” Nilsson said. “We came out and played a really good first period and that set the tone for the rest of the game for us.”
The win was Ottawa’s (13-17-1) first over the Bruins (20-5-6) since April 6, 2017.
Chris Tierney, Artem Anisimov and Jean-Gabriel Pageau also scored for the Senators, who were playing their first home game since returning from a five-game trip (1-4-0).
Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk scored for the Bruins, who were playing the first of four road games. Tuukka Rask made 23 saves in his first loss in regulation since Nov. 8.
The Bruins are 0-2-1 in their last three and have lost back-to-back games in regulation for the first time this season.
“We’re going through a tough stretch in terms of getting our energy level where it needs to be,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “If you’re not competing hard on the puck, around the puck, on the puck in this league you’re not going to beat anybody. Ottawa was just better than us, they won more races and they were more competitive early on.”
The Bruins were 1 for 5 with the man advantage and are 2 for 17 through their last five.
“At the start of the year our power play was carrying us,” Cassidy said. “A night like (Monday) we probably get two on it early in the year and ends up being the difference in the game and maybe a timely save mixed in there, but now you put those two things not going in there and suddenly we’re in the loss column.”
Leading 3-1 to start the third, the Senators did a good job of containing the Bruins, who were pressing to close the gap.
With the Bruins on the power play, Rask was pulled for a 6-on-4 advantage, but Pageau was able to pick off a pass and break in for an empty-net goal to seal the win with just under three minutes remaining.
Nilsson gave lots of credit to those in front of him who blocked shots and found ways to cut lanes. In the end, the Senators had 29 blocked shots.
“It’s great as a goalie to stand back there and see when the guys are playing so hard and sacrificing themselves and blocking shots and battling through even when they’re really tired,” Nilsson said. “It was a great team effort and great job from everyone.”
DeBrusk scored a power-play goal 43 seconds later during a scramble in front of Nilsson, but that was as close as the Bruins got as Duclair added another empty-net goal.
Duclair now has five goals and one assist through his last three games. He was also on the ice late in the game and on the penalty kill, which is a new experience.
“I’m getting a big opportunity here and probably the most ice time I’ve gotten in my career, so I don’t want to take that for granted,” Duclair said. “I’m getting the confidence from the coaching staff and my teammates here, so I just want to continue doing that.”
Ottawa made it a two-goal game early in the second as Vladislav Namestnikov intercepted Rask’s pass from behind the net and found Tierney, who scored his fourth of the season and snapped a 22-game stretch without a goal.
Boston failed to capitalize on three power-play opportunities in the second, with Nilsson deserving much of the credit.
The Senators held a 2-1 lead after the first 20 minutes.
Ottawa opened the scoring 1:35 into the game when Dylan DeMelo made a pass to Anisimov, who broke through the defense and sent a backhander over Rask’s shoulder.
Duclair, with his 14th of the season, made it 2-0 when he took a pass from Tierney in the slot and beat Rask to the glove side.
The Bruins cut the lead in half as Bergeron, who was making his return after missing the last seven games with a lower-body injury, took a cross-ice pass from David Pastrnak and scored into an open net.
NOTES: The Senators will be without goalie Craig Anderson for at least a week. He tweaked his knee Dec. 7.
Bruins: At Washington Capitals on Wednesday.
Senators: At Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.
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