- Joe McDonald, Reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins wanted to finish strong before the Olympic break, and that's exactly what they were able to accomplish, going 8-1-2 in the past 11 games.
The Bruins defeated the Ottawa Senators 7-2 Saturday afternoon at TD Garden. Boston received a pair of goals and one assist from Patrice Bergeron, while Chris Kelly, Jarome Iginla, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand and Carl Soderberg scored a goal each. Bruins starter Chad Johnson finished with 26 saves. Johnson has won his past five starts and improves to 11-3-0 overall this season.
The Bruins gained the early advantage when Bergeron scored his 15th goal of the season, a power-play tally, at 11:36 of the first period. He finished a nifty give-and-go with Soderberg. Boston took a 2-0 lead at 16:26 of the opening period when Kelly notched his fourth goal of the season. Rookie defenseman David Warsofsky put the puck in a perfect area for Kelly to redirect it past Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson. The assist was Warsofsky's first in the NHL. He scored his first NHL goal on Dec. 28 against the Senators.
Boston continued to pour it on in the second period.
Bergeron scored his second of the game, and 16th of the season, when he snuck a backhander past Anderson on the short side from behind the goal line to give the Bruins a 3-0 lead at 4:55.
The Senators finally got on the board when Bobby Ryan finished off a 2-on-1 and beat Johnson to the five-hole at 17:15 of the period. Boston quickly answered when Iginla notched his 17th goal of the season at 18:18 of the second period to give the Bruins a 4-1 lead. Iginla was camped out front, while linemate David Krejci showed great patience with the puck before hitting a pass that Iginla slammed home.
Boston did not let up in the third period.
The Bruins applied a strong forecheck and laser-like passing before Lucic scored at 3:35 to give Boston a 5-1 lead. The goal was Lucic's 17th of the season. Marchand scored his team-leading 19th goal of the season to give the Bruins a 6-1 lead at 8:26 of the period.
Ottawa scored a power-play goal when the Senators' Patrick Wiercioch beat Johnson, who was screened, at 15:05 of the third period.
Soderberg scored his ninth of the season at 16:53 to give Boston a 7-2 lead.
DROP 'EM: Bruins rookie defenseman Kevan Miller is known for his strength and his ability to drop the gloves. Entering Saturday's game, he had only one fighting major in 23 games with Boston this season, and recently said he's been getting anxious to do it again. He got that opportunity at 17:18 of the first period when he invited the Senators' Zack Smith to go. Miller connected on a few quick straight rights before Smith fell to the ice.
INJURED: Bruins forward Daniel Paille did not play the third period with an undisclosed injury. He played 13 shifts, totaling 6:37 in ice time through two periods. He was involved in a collision with the Senators' Chris Neil at the end of the second period. Paille missed seven games in December due to a concussion.
Bruins coach Claude Julien said the team was being cautious and that's why Paille didn't return for the third period.
"We just took him out," Julien said. "Our trainers thought it was best for him to not come out in the third, but he’ll be fine when we get back from what I hear."
Julien said he wasn't sure when Paille was injured.
"I don’t know. I didn’t even know. They [medical staff] just came up and told me they were looking at him, and then they came back and said we’re going to keep him off for the third."
UP NEXT: Absolutely nothing. The non-Olympians will enjoy 11 days off before they're required back for the team's next practice on Feb. 20.
9dJoe McDonald and Kyle Brasseur