BOSTON â€” Bobby Ryan strikes again.
After playing the hero in Game 3, Ryan scored the winner in Game 4 at 5:49 of the third period as the Ottawa Senators beat the Boston Bruins 1-0 on Wednesday night to grab a 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference quarter-final series.
Ryan, who netted the winner 5:43 into overtime on Monday to seal the Senators’ 4-3 win in Game 3, poked the puck past a diving Tuukka Rask after Erik Karlsson set him up on an intentionally wide slapshot just inside the blue line.
“I had a good feeling,” Ryan said. “(Karlsson) sees plays that the rest of us just don’t. I knew it was going to be the vicinity. It hit my stick and just died on it and gave me an opportunity to put it in. Just the perfect pass.”
It was Ryan’s team-leading third goal of the series. Karlsson picked up his 20th career playoff assist, tying Martin Havlat for the sixth-most in franchise history.
Craig Anderson made 22 saves in his fourth career playoff shutout for the Sens.
“Andy was a rock for us and probably stole this one for us,” Karlsson said of Anderson.
Ottawa won its fifth straight game in Boston and improved to 7-1 versus the Bruins this season.
Rask stopped 26 shots for the Bruins. Boston hasn’t won a home playoff game since May 10, 2014.
“They’re a good team; you have to give them credit. They’re playing well and their goalie played a good game tonight,” Bruins left-winger Brad Marchand said. “We’ve been in situations like this before; we have to worry about the next game.”
The Senators can clinch the series at home Friday in Game 5.
“The mindset is still chins up and keep fighting,” Bruins alternate captain and centre Patrice Bergeron said. “I’ve been in it before up 3-1, and it’s always tough to get the fourth game.”
Ottawa stifled Boston in the first period for the fourth straight game, but couldn’t score itself despite taking 14 shots. It’s the third time this series that neither team has scored in the opening frame.
Anderson denied one of the Bruins’ better attempts of the game on a breakaway for Marchand late in the first. The veteran goalie sprawled forward to smother the puck, a move he credits to legendary goalie Johnny Bower.
“When I was in junior, I had Johnny Bower for a day,” Anderson said. “That was the story, the first time he ever came out sliding at a guy. He was nervous, I was nervous. You know, I’m just glad it worked out.”
Charlie McAvoy appeared to score his first NHL goal after his blue line slapper beat Anderson at 10:49 of the second, but a Senators’ challenge reversed the ruling as centre Noel Acciari was offside.
“We can’t ask for much more from him,” Bruins interim coach Bruce Cassidy said of McAvoy, who was playing in just his fourth NHL game.
Anderson preserved the shutout to keep the sellout crowd of 17,565 at TD Garden quiet through the second period buzzer. It was an improvement after Boston had scored three second-period goals in consecutive games.
“A little bit of luck,” Anderson said of the Sens’ scoreless second. “We still gave up some scoring chances. We were able to make the saves on them tonight. It’s not always going to be like that.”
Sens left-winger Tom Pyatt left in the first and didn’t return after suffering an upper-body injury on a hit by Bruins defenceman Kevan Miller at 2:48 of the period.
After getting centre David Krejci back from an upper-body injury in Game 3, the Bruins were bolstered by the return of defenceman Colin Miller. Miller missed Games 2 and 3 after suffering a lower-body injury in the series opener.
Notes: Ottawa stuck with the same lineup from Game 4, with D Mark Borowiecki (lower body) missing his second straight game. “Boro is getting closer everyday,” coach Guy Boucher said. … Bruins C Patrice Bergeron, a three-time Selke Trophy winner, was named a finalist for the award for the sixth straight season on Wednesday.
Gethin Coolbaugh, The Canadian Press