Sens beat Bruins, secure home ice in 1st round
The Ottawa Senators clinched home ice advantage in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffswith a 6-3 win over the Boston Bruins at TD Banknorth Garden on Saturday night.
Dany Heatley led Ottawa, notching his 50th goal of the NHL season to go along with two assists in the game.
Heatley reached the 50-goal plateau for the second consecutive season, becoming the first player to accomplish the feat since retired superstar Pavel Bure did it six years ago with the Florida Panthers.
The win gives Ottawa (48-25-9) the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Senators now face the fifth-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins beginning with the first two games at Scotiabank Place next week.
"It shows that we can win a game when we need to," Ottawa coach Bryan Murray said. "We wanted to make sure we had a win going into the playoffs.
On Saturday, Jason Spezza added two goals, including his 34th of the season, while Daniel Alfredsson added three helpers.
Senators goaltender Ray Emery allowed two goals early in the first period but rebounded to make 29 saves.
"This team has a lot to do with it," Heatley said, "It's a lot of fun, a good way to end the season. It's nice. It's been two great regular seasons. Now we want to get on a roll going into the playoffs."
The Bruins missed post-season play for the second straight year and have won just one playoff series in 11 seasons.
"I could have done a lot of things better," first-year coach Dave Lewis said. "I want us to be more competitive and I'd like to be more physical. We have to have the players who are willing to do that."
Both teams started quickly, scoring four goals within the first seven minutes.
Teams trade goals
The Bruins opened the scoring barrage just 1:28 into the first period on Marco Sturm's tip-in.
The Senators replied with the tying goal less than two minutes later. Tim Thomas's attempt to clear out the puck backfired as Mike Comrie was able to get behind the Bruins goaltender and backhand the puck into the open net.
The Bruins took a 2-1 lead at 5:57 after Petr Kalus's wrist shot found the back of the net behind Emery.
But the Senators wasted little time getting the equalizer, converting on a goal just 53 seconds later. With the Bruins pinned inside their own end, Spezza redirected Alfredsson's slap shot, whichfooled Thomas.
Heatley gave the Senators a 3-2 edge at 5:15 of the second period. Alfredsson found Heatley with a long backhand pass, sending the Ottawa forward on a partial break. Heatley then beat Thomas to the short side with a hard blast.
More than three minutes later, Ottawa increased its lead by two goals on Spezza's second goal of the game on another deflection.
The Bruins cut Ottawa's advantage to 4-3 at 3:42 of the final period on the power play. Petr Tenkrat completed a nifty passing play with Patrice Bergeron by slipping the puck past Emery's left side.
Ottawa regained its two-goal edge while on a two-man advantage less than two minutes later as Alfreddson let fly a one-timer that beat Thomas to the stick side.
Patrick Eaves rounded out the scoring for Ottawa with his 14th goal of the season.
The Senators will be making their 10th straight playoff appearance, the longest current streak among Canadian teams.
"Obviously, if it goes to a seven-game series, it's important to have that big game at home," Emery said, "and it's nice to be starting out at home, and maybe we can put the other team behind the 8-ball."
With files from the Associated Press