The Bruins rallied from an early 2-0 hole to pick up a 3-2 shootout win (their third straight victory) against the Senators Monday night at Scotiabank Place but it might have come at a steep price. Third line center Chris Kelly was the victim of a dirty knee-to-knee hit with Ottawa’s (13-8-5) Chris Neil in the second period and he had to be helped off the ice. Kelly didn’t return in the third period. Neil was upset after Boston’s (17-3-3) Adam McQuaid awkwardly hit him face-first into the boards in the first period, which resulted in a boarding call.
Tuukka Rask (13-2-3) made 30 saves, including three stops in the shootout with only Kyle Turris beating him. Patrice Bergeron scored in the shootout for the B’s then David Krejci clinched it by roofing the puck over Robin Lehner (33 saves). Ottawa notched the earliest goal that Boston has allowed this season as Guillaume Latendresse took advantage of a turnover to score 55 seconds into the game. Another giveaway in their own end was fatal for the Bruins as Turris made it 2-0 at 7:18. Boston head coach Claude Julien used his only timeout right then to settle his team down.
McQuaid fought Patrick Wiercioch after his hit on Neil. Boston’s fourth line received some extra shifts from Julien and they rewarded his confidence in them as Shawn Thornton cut it to 2-1 with 44 seconds left in the first period. After a line change, nobody saw Daniel Paille come over the boards in the second period but David Krejci hit him with a pass for a breakaway. Paille tied it with his fifth goal of the season on a wrist shot.
Ottawa has now suffered two heartbreaking losses to Boston this season as its previous meeting was a 2-1 overtime loss on Feb. 28 when Bergeron tipped home the winner at TD Garden. For the B’s, this was a vital two points since it was the start of a crazy week (five games in seven days) and they recovered from a brutal start plus the injury to Kelly. The two hottest teams in the Eastern Conference face off Tuesday night in Pittsburgh (7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network) as the Bruins visit the Penguins (18-8-0), who have won five straight games.
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate