Bounces go Bruins' way

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

Antoine Vermette stood in the hallway outside the Senators' dressing room last night, his cap on backward and a towel around his neck, the sweat of a night's work still shining on his face.

"The bounces, eh?" he said with a shake of his head. "We've had so many against us, maybe now we'll get some."

The Senators lost to the first-place team in the NHL last night in Game 2 of Cory Clouston's NHL coaching career, 4-3 in a shootout to the Bruins that saw a 3-2 Ottawa lead late in the third disappear on one of those bounces Vermette is talking about.

A puck that was heading into the Boston zone hit a linesman's skate and Vermette veered quickly in front of the Boston bench to try and get it. When he got hit from behind by a Bruins player, his stick clipped Boston forward Michael Ryder, leaving him bleeding on the ice. After a lengthy conference by the officials, Vermette got a double minor for high-sticking with five minutes to go in the third and the Bruins tied the game on a power-play goal by Senators killer Chuck Kobasew (seventh goal in 11 games against Ottawa).

It's been that kind of year, huh?

Both Senators goaltender Brian Elliott and B's stopper Tim Thomas were outstanding in the shootout, Thomas a little more so, as they went 10 shooters deep before Boston's P.J. Axelsson scored the only goal to win it, dropping the Senators' record this year in the shootout to 1-5 and 8-22 all-time.

Vermette was left lamenting the luck.

"The most frustrating part is the fact the linesman stopped the puck. If you look at the way the play developed, it should have been in (the Boston zone)," he said of his high-sticking penalty. "I had to react. I got bumped from behind as I was trying to go under his stick. It was an accident."

TREAT FOR SMALL CROWD

Last night's crowd at Scotiabank Place was 17,297, the second-smallest of the season after the 17,215 that showed up to see the Thrashers Dec. 3, but the folks who were there got to see an unlikely rally by the home side, which is playing a more challenging game under Clouston. You see how many turnovers the Senators have created the last two games by being more aggressive in the neutral zone?

The Senators hadn't won a game this year when trailing by two goals -- that shouldn't be a surprise given how little they've scored this year -- and the Bruins hadn't lost in regulation time this season in 27 games when leading after two periods (25-0-2). That streak is still intact for the B's, who led 2-1 after 40 minutes, but the Senators made them sweat.

The Senators had come back to win when trailing after two periods just once this season (1-20-1), but captain Daniel Alfredsson's goal just 58 seconds into the third tied it and a power-play goal by Jason Spezza at 8:33 gave the Senators the lead and put them in position for an unlikely victory against a top-quality opponent.

ELLIOTT SHUTS DOOR IN OT

The Bruins started the overtime on the power play after Ottawa's Mike Fisher was penalized for interference on the last play of regulation time, but Elliott made a couple of big stops on Bruins defenceman Dennis Wideman.

The star for the Senators last night was sophomore Nick Foligno, the young forward who, in one of Craig Hartsburg's final acts as Senators coach, was a healthy scratch for Sunday's loss to the Capitals. He had the Senators' first goal last night on a nice individual effort to end their scoreless streak just shy of 105 minutes and set up Spezza's goal.

"We were all over them. I thought we were better than them the majority of the night," said Foligno. "We battled so hard, it's hard to see the penalties at the end. I thought we deserved the win, but we'll battle back with a good effort the next game.

"We're waiting for a bounce to come our way."

The Senators host the Sabres tomorrow night.


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