Ottawa Senators Martin Gerber reaches for a shot on goal by the Boston Bruins in the second period, Sunday in Boston. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Michael Dwyer
BOSTON - The Ottawa Senators continued their early season roll after finding a big break short-handed.
Daniel Alfredsson and Antoine Vermette scored on Ottawa's first two chances in the shootout and Martin Gerber stopped Boston initial pair of shooters Sunday night to lift the Senators to their 12th win in their first 13 games, 2-1 over the Bruins.
Taking advantage of a rare man-advantage break while short-handed in the final period, the Senators tied it on Vermette's score early in the third. Then they finished it easily in the shootout.
"I wouldn't say it was unorthodox, but to score a short-handed goal after having so many power play opportunities and not really either finishing or looking very good," Ottawa coach John Paddock said. "To tie it short-handed, it's just a good 'find a way to win' game."
Chuck Kobasew, who scored both goals in a 3-2 loss Saturday night in Ottawa, had Boston's goal in regulation. Ottawa was held scoreless in six power-play chances.
Ottawa's fast start is still far still off its best opening deep into a season. The Senators began 2005-06 by winning 19 of their initial 22 games.
But they certainly are the best in the Eastern Conference so far, if not the entire league.
"What is right now the best team in the NHL, we know we have to get better," Bruins coach Claude Julien said.
The Senators owned a 35-20 shot advantage in regulation against Boston goalie Tim Thomas.
Alfredsson beat Thomas with a wrist shot to the goalie's stick side and Vermette slipped a backhander between his pads. Kobasew's backhand shot was stopped by Gerber's blocker and Phil Kessel failed to stuff a wrist shot past the goalie's left skate.
"We just couldnt score on the power play, but specialty teams still won us the game," Alfredsson said.
Boston, outshot 45-19 Saturday night, grabbed a 1-0 lead on Kobasew's goal 4:13 into the game. Kessel centred a pass from the left faceoff circle to a charging Kobasew, who fired a wrist shot that broke into the net off Gerber's right pad.
After a strong opening period, the Bruins were short-handed for a large portion of the second and, like Saturday, relied on Thomas.
"Timmy, again, is the reason why we were in the game the whole time," Julien said. "He kept us in the game as long as he could. Then we gave up that short-handed goal. That was a backbreaker."
The Senators tied it on Vermette's short-handed goal 4:01 into the third period when he capped a 3-on-2 break by backhanding Anton Volchenkov's rebound past Thomas.
The Senators had four of their power-play opportunities in the second, including a two-man advantage for 43 seconds. Thomas turned aside six shots, and the Bruins' defencemen handled the rebounds well. Things were going so well for Thomas that he came out about 10 feet from the net in attempt to clear the puck, and he ended up making a save on Alfredsson's slap shot after the winger collected the goaltender's errant clearing pass at the left point.
"We did a good job on fixing our penalty kill and stepping up and putting the effort that we need to do the penalty kill," Thomas said. "Just some bad luck on the short-handed goal."
Notes: Boston D Andrew Ference was scratched with what the team called an "upper core injury." ... The Bruins recalled C Petteri Nokelainen from their AHL affiliate in Providence and sent down C David Krejci earlier Sunday. ... In 2005-06, the Senators opened 13-2 before they lost their third game. ... A big cheer went up from the small crowd of 10,087 when the Patriots' final score was flashed on the jumbotron. ... Ottawa outshot Boston 16-4 in the second period.