What a difference a day can make in the NHL. Friday, the Bruins rolled, 5-0, over the Senators at TD Garden. Saturday, Boston (26-11-2) fell, 4-3, at Canadian Tire Centre to Ottawa (16-18-7).
The final result on the ice was almost secondary to the bigger news of the day for the B’s as defenseman Dennis Seidenberg suffered a torn ACL and MCL in his knee Friday and will miss the rest of the season. Adding to the drama, Zdeno Chara and Carl Soderberg also missed the rematch as they are both day-to-day with undisclosed injuries.
All that, and Tuukka Rask got pulled for the second time this season (both in December), but that happened when Ottawa made it, 3-1, 29 seconds into the second period on Zack Smith’s shorthanded goal. Bruins head coach Claude Julien put in Chad Johnson, not so much because Rask had played that poorly (in his second start in two nights), but more so to send a message. For a while it worked as Boston tied it with a goal by Jarome Iginla later in the frame and David Warsofsky’s first career NHL goal in the third.
Boston never held a lead though as Bobby Ryan, who should be on Team USA in Sochi, scored on a breakaway with 4:35 left in regulation. The Bruins had a power play and countless opportunities to tie it up late but Craig Anderson (29 saves) held on. Iginla had a possible go-ahead goal waived off earlier in the third when he clearly kicked the puck with his skate. It was reviewed and rightfully overturned.
The B’s are off the next few days before they host the Islanders (11-21-7), who might be without the services of captain John Tavares on New Year’s Eve (7 p.m., NESN) at TD Garden.
What they'll be saying: Seidenberg’s injury is a big one, since he’s the B's second best defenseman who usually teams up with Chara in the playoffs for a true shutdown pairing. Zach Trotman made his NHL debut but Seidenberg’s injury means that Boston should be looking around the league for a possible replacement. You can’t expect someone from the Providence Bruins to replace someone like Seidenberg.
Warsofsky’s tying goal was a beauty and a victory for local hockey players. He’s from Marshfield, Mass., prepped at Cushing Academy and played collegiately at BU. No doubt, somewhere legendary Terriers head coach Jack Parker was smiling.
Iginla’s goal gave him a dozen on the season along with a four-game point streak: four goals and one assist. It also had a piece of NHL history as it was his 542nd career goal, passing Blackhawks icon Stan Mikita for 29th all-time in the league. His possible second goal would have given the Bruins a new team record (eight games in a row where a player scored two goals), but it wasn’t to be.
Niklas Svedberg was sent back to Providence, given Boston’s greater needs on defense plus Nick Johnson was recalled to take Soderberg’s place (who appeared to suffer a concussion on Friday when he got hit into the stanchion between the benches). Otherwise, Svedberg would have started in Ottawa. Instead, Rask had to play on back-to-back nights and Johnson ended up actually playing pretty well. Boston’s usual backup made 17 saves in relief to keep the Bruins in it.
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate