The Boston Bruins stayed alive with a thrilling double overtime game winner from Sean Kuraly to seal the deal against the Ottawa Senators in Game 5. It was the second goal of the game for Kuraly, who also notched the game-tying goal in the second period. Boston will travel back home for a must-win Game Six, but has to be feeling confident about being able to win on home ice. Meanwhile Ottawa will be attempting to get the clean sweep in Boston.
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Home ice has mattered little this series. The road team has won four of the five tilts with Boston winning two of the three in Ottawa and Ottawa winning both games in Boston thus far. However, this series has been extraordinarily even. Three of the five games have gone to overtime and every single game has been decided by one goal.
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Getting Erik Karlsson healthy again was huge for the Senators. Karlsson was the team’s leading point scorer during the regular season, but his playoffs were in doubt after he suffered an injury to his right foot with just a few games to go before the postseason. He has clearly been limited by the foot injury, losing some of his trademark explosiveness, but that hasn’t stopped him from effecting games thus far.
Karlsson has five assists in five games against Boston this series, tallying at least a point in every game but Game 5 on Friday. Although he has not been able to find the back of the net, his vision is still creating plays for his teammates and is a big part of why Ottawa is still ahead in this series. The Senators have a dearth of offensive options so his playmaking potential will continue to be huge.
An interesting dynamic in this series has been when the power plays for each side have been effective. In Games 1, 4, and 5 neither team converted on any of their combined 18 chances, while both teams found the back of the net on the man advantage in Games 2 and 3.
Not capitalizing in Game 5 was a big problem for Ottawa who had five chances to Boston’s three. If the Senators had converted on any one of those chances, they would be on to the Eastern Conference Semifinals and awaiting either New York or Montreal, but the power play that was 23rd in the league this season failed to convert.
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The injuries are continuing to mount for Boston. The Bruins are still without Adam McQuaid, Torey Krug, and Brandon Carlo, and may not have David Krejci in Game 6 either. Krejci was sidelined for two games earlier this series with an upper-body injury, but it was announced that he suffered a lower-body injury in Game 5 on Friday. Losing a goal scorer like him when they are already down so many defensemen would be critical.
Bobby Ryan missed 20 games in the regular season this year and suffered through a scoreless March, but has ratcheted up his play in the postseason. Ryan leads the team with three goals and two assists in five games, but has still not seen as much ice time as you would expect with those numbers. Look for him to get more chances against Boston on Sunday.
If Boston was healthy, the Bruins would be the pick here, but double overtime games really hurt teams with very limited depth on the blue line. Unless two of the three defensemen currently out for Boston are good to go, look for Ottawa to close out the series on the road.
NHL Playoff Odds: Senators 3, Bruins 1
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