TD Garden — Boston
Brian Elliott (OTT) — 31 saves
Erik Karlsson (OTT) — 1 goal
Daniel Alfredsson (OTT) — 1 goal
As the Ottawa Senators try to establish themselves in the top half of the NHL's Eastern Conference, goalkeeper Brian Elliott is proving he can be relied upon to hold the fort and secure a win.
On Saturday night the 25-year-old showed he can also dominate. Elliott made 31 saves to earn his first shutout of the season and secure a 2-0 win for Ottawa over Boston.
Erik Karlsson opened the scoring for the Senators at 9:34 of the first period and Daniel Alfredsson secured the road win with his seventh goal of the season at 4:15 of the third.
Elliott's standout performance came at the right time after Ottawa gave up four goals in the third period in its last game against Vancouver.
"We just wanted to make sure we bounced back," Alfredsson said. "We didn't want this to turn into a two- [or] three-game losing streak."
Elliott bests Thomas
Elliott's opposite number, Boston goalkeeper Tim Thomas, is the league's best right now, and five of Thomas's 20 career shutouts have come against Ottawa.
Early on, the Bruins netminder looked like he was putting together another stellar performance with two excellent saves on Jarkko Ruutu and Jason Spezza.
But the Senators kept firing pucks at the net, and Karlsson's first period snapshot found its way through a crowd and past Thomas.
The defenceman was the recipient of a clean faceoff win by Chris Kelly, and Thomas couldn't see the danger as the puck passed him.
"I didn't see it," Thomas said. "It's a terrifying feeling as a goalie when you can't find the puck.
"I couldn't even find out who had the puck. It just disappeared behind bodies, and by the time I saw it was behind our last defenceman."
Spezza almost made it 2-0 minutes later when his powerful shot from the blue-line blazed over Thomas's shoulder but was stopped by the crossbar.
Ottawa kept the pressure on throughout the first, but at the start of the second frame the Bruins tried to punch their way back into the game, literally.
On a second period power play, Blake Wheeler used his fist to push the puck into the net after Patrice Bergeron's shot went over Elliott's shoulder and fell on the goal-line.
"I took a dive at it," Wheeler said. "That's a tough one. You can probably do a million different things and the puck goes in."
The goal was disallowed, but the Bruins kept testing Elliott, and Ottawa's goalie kept answering.
Many of Boston's 11 second-period shots, including a shorthanded breakaway by Jordan Caron, could have ignited the goal light if not for Elliot, who earned his seventh career shutout with terrific rebound control and solid positioning.
He also had favourable stats on his side. Ottawa is 8-0-0 when leading after two periods, and Alfredsson made sure that streak moved to nine games when he deposited a short pass from Milan Michalek.
"I certainly don't fault Timmy. He was good. He kept us in the game," Bruins head coach Claude Julien said.
"I'm not going to throw anybody under the bus, but I'm not going to praise our team because we didn't play well."