Pastrnak scores 34th, Bruins beat Senators 5-2
The Boston Bruins won, then got the break they needed to remain in contention for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
David Pastrnak and Tommy Wingels scored 51 seconds apart in the second period and Boston beat Ottawa 5-2 on Saturday night, a win that preserved Bruins' chances for the No. 1 seed with an overtime loss by Tampa Bay.
"It's been a battle all year. It's been a grind, but we're in that position," said Patrice Bergeron, who assisted on Pastrnak's tying goal 8:08 into the second period.
The Bruins host Florida on Sunday night in a game postponed by a winter storm Jan. 4. Boston is one point behind Tampa Bay, which lost in overtime at Carolina, for the top spot in the East and the Atlantic Division.
Danton Heinen also scored for Boston, which added late goals by Noel Acciari and David Backes in the final two minutes to put away the Senators and complete the season sweep.
Anton Khudobin stopped 26 shots for the Bruins.
"We have a chance to move into first. That's what we all can ask for — to have a chance," Boston captain Zdeno Chara said. "It's in our hands tomorrow."
Ryan Dzingel scored both goals for Ottawa and Colin White had two assists. Daniel Taylor made 29 saves for the Senators, who finished 28-43-11 one year after reaching the Eastern Conference finals.
The Senators closed out the season with back-to-back games on the road against two of the top teams in the East. After getting shut out 4-0 at Pittsburgh on Friday night, Ottawa didn't concede anything against the Bruins.
"We've got a lot of young guys and some big names missing. It could have been easy yesterday or today to come up with a poor effort or a lack of commitment," Ottawa coach Guy Boucher said. "We were making some mental mistakes and stuff but I think the effort was there from the beginning until the end."
After falling behind 1-0 on Dzingel's goal 12:31 into the game, Boston tied it on Pastrnak's power-play goal 8:08 into the second period. The tie lasted less than a minute before Wingels fired a wrist shot that Taylor got his glove on but couldn't hold and the puck bounced over the goal line at 8:59 of the second.
Heinen made a steal at the Boston blue line and took it the other way, beating Taylor on a wrist shot with 2:59 left in the second.
Dzingel pulled Ottawa to 3-2 at 7:07 of the third with his second goal of the game, but Acciari added an insurance goal for Boston with 1:51 left and David Backes scored on an empty net with 43 seconds left to play.
"I thought today we got better as the game went on and we really started playing our game, our style, our system and it showed on the scoreboard," Bergeron said. "We're in a position where we can win the conference. It's a big feat."
NOTES: Senators D Erik Karlsson missed his third straight game, remaining at home with his wife after the couple's first son was stillborn last month. ... Bruins LW Tim Schaller and RW David Pastrnak are the only Boston players to have played in the first 81 games. ... Bruins LW Rick Nash missed his 11th straight game with an upper-body injury. ... After entering the season on a six-game winless streak against Ottawa, Boston swept all four games.
Senators: End of regular season.
Bruins: Wrap up the regular season Sunday night at home against the Panthers.