Tim Thomas knew that an unbeaten season was unlikely. Still, he had a good feeling when he took the ice with a chance for his ninth straight win.
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”I know you’re not going to win them all. (But I) want to,” he said Saturday night after his first loss of the season, a 2-0 victory by the Ottawa Senators. ”I thought it was going to be 9-0 after tonight. But that’s hockey: It doesn’t always work out the way you want it to.”
Brian Elliott stopped 31 shots, earning his first shutout this season, and Erik Karlsson and Daniel Alfredsson scored for Ottawa. One game after giving up four third-period goals in a 6-2 loss to Vancouver, the Senators took the early lead. Elliott held off the Bruins for Ottawa’s seventh win in nine games and its third straight in Boston.
”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.”
The Senators learned on Saturday that assistant coach Luke Richardson’s 14-year-old daughter, Daron, had died. After the game, coach Cory Clouston broke down when asked about it.
”I don’t think anyone can (understand), but you can imagine and it is probably worse than what you can imagine,” Alfredsson said. ”It’s tragic. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, and hopefully they can cope with this as best as possible.”
Richardson was not with the team, a Senators spokesman said.
Thomas had been 8-0 this season, earning the win in each of Boston’s victories. The Bruins were shut out for the first time and have lost four of five since opening with seven wins in nine games.
”I certainly don’t fault Timmy. He was good; he kept us in the game,” Bruins 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.”
Thomas stopped 31 shots, but he fell behind 1-0 midway through the first period when Karlsson got the puck off a faceoff in the Boston zone and wristed it through traffic and into the net.
”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 defenseman.”
Boston appeared to tie it in the second period when Zdeno Chara’s shot from the right circle squeezed between Elliott’s left shoulder and the post before it landed on the goal line. Blake Wheeler dove for it, but his stick went over the puck and, as he slid into the net, he knocked it in with his glove.
The referee immediately waved off the goal, and the replay confirmed his call.
”I took a dive at it,” Wheeler said, noting that if he had hit it with his body instead it could have counted. ”That’s a tough one. You can probably do a million different things and the puck goes in.”
With eight minutes left in the second, the Bruins got a short-handed breakaway when two Senators collided at mid-ice and fell. Patrice Bergeron went in alone, but Elliott made the save with his blocker.
The Senators took a 2-0 lead with 15:45 left in the game when Milan Michalek crossed the puck over to Alfredsson, who had an open net to shoot at. Alfredsson has seven goals and four assists in 11 games.