BOSTON (AP) — Linus Ullmark made 40 saves, Jake DeBrusk had the go-ahead goal and the NHL-best Boston Bruins continued their pursuit of the league’s record for regular-season victories with a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.
“I thought he was outstanding and he needed to be," Boston coach Jim Montgomery said of Ullmark. “Unfortunately we gave up a lot of good looks, a lot of odd-man rushes because of our puck management and he bailed us out like he has all year.”
David Krejci added a power-play goal for Boston, which won its fourth straight.
Dylan Gambrell scored for the Senators and Mads Sogaard made 33 stops.
“We had a shooters' mentality for two periods,” Ottawa coach D.J. Smith said. "The third period, they've won 54 games now, they're not going to give you an odd-man rush, they're not going to give you anything. You're going to have to earn it.''
The Bruins posted their 54th win and with 12 games left are on pace to break the mark of 62, set by the Detroit Red Wings in 1995-96 and matched by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2018-19.
Chasing the Eastern Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot, Ottawa has lost six of seven following a season-high, five-game winning streak.
Coming off a 3-2 road trip where they won the last three games by a combined score of 15-2 that included two shutouts by backup Jeremy Swayman, the Bruins converted on a two-man, power-play advantage to tie the game at 1-1 midway into the opening period when Krejci poked in a rebound from the edge of the crease.
DeBrusk completed a nifty play with Brad Marchand when he collected a pass cutting down the slot at full speed, shifted and tucked a rebound past Sogaard at 15:52 of the first period for his 23rd goal.
“It was ‘all world.’ I saw him and he fed it through a lot of guys for a breakaway,” DeBrusk said of the pass. “It was one of those passes where I didn't know what to do. I was going to point at him (after) but I was going too fast.”
Gambrell’s wraparound score gave Ottawa a 1-0 edge.
“I thought I played a good game today,” Sogaard said. “I just battled and stayed with it the entire way. … These ones are tough because we were so close.”
Ullmark stopped 22 shots in the second period with at least a dozen of them high-quality chances. During an Ottawa power play he jumped from a crouch to make a right-shoulder stop on Alex DeBrincat’s bid from in close.
“We talked about it,” defenceman Hampus Lindholm said of the second period. “We know we're a good team in the third and wanted to tighten it up for him. … They got a lot of chances that were our own fault in the second.”
WOMEN IN SPORTS NIGHT
The Bruins highlighted women who work and compete in the sports community, having Olympic gold medallist and Boston Pride defender Kali Flanagan accompany Bruins players during pre-game walk-ins along with local high school scholastic award winners. In addition, in-arena host Michaela Johnson handled the PA for the night and they also left yellow roses at the seats of female reporters.
The Senators entered the game as the only team holding an advantage in their series against the Bruins this season, winning twice in three games. … Montgomery said after the morning skate that defenceman Derek Forbort would likely be sidelined with a lower-body injury at least through the rest of the regular season. … DeBrusk, playing on the top line most of the season, is four off his career-high goal total, set in 2018-19.
Senators: Host Tampa Bay on Thursday.
Bruins: Host longtime rival Montreal in an Original Six matchup Thursday.
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Ken Powtak, The Associated Press