Jared Cowan is only 22 years old, and Erik Condra (center photo) has played more college games for Notre Dame than he has played in the NHL, but both came up big and Chris Neil had a great fight with the Bruins’ Milan Lucic to set the tone in a 4-2 win that finalized the NHL playoffs (see table below).
|Western Higher Seed||Pts||Lower Seed||Pts|
|Chicago Blackhawks||77||Minnesota Wild||55|
|Anaheim Ducks||66||Detroit Red Wings||56|
|St. Louis Blues||60||San Jose Sharks||57|
|Vancouver Canucks||59||Los Angeles Kings||59|
|Eastern Higher Seed||Pts||Lower Seed||Pts|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||72||New York Islanders||55|
|Montréal Canadiens||63||Ottawa Senators||56|
|Washington Capitals||57||New York Rangers||56|
|Boston Bruins||62||Toronto Maple Leafs||57|
The crew in Boston barely had time to get the ice ready after the Celtics stayed alive in the NBA playoffs with an overtime win Sunday. The Senators were ready as soon as the ice was set, taking a physical game to the Bruins to move up to seventh place in the final game of the season and play the Montreal Canadians instead of the Conference champion Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round.
The Senators needed to at least tie in regulation to avoid facing the Penguins.
In the final 4:01 of the first period, Condra put in a wrist shot, Neal went toe-to-toe in a great fight with Lucic, during which both players landed series of punches, and a melee at the end of the first two periods sent a message Ottawa was in Boston to win.
Cowen put in a beautiful slapshot at 10:33 of the second period to make it 2-0, and the Senators needed only to get to the end of regulation tied to get out of playing the Penguins in the opening round.
Boston did score with 3.4 seconds left in the second period and again just 14 seconds into the final period, but the Senators aggressive forechecking throughout eventually resulted in two late goals to finalize all eight playoff series.
Boston fell from second to fourth since the Capitols were guaranteed a top-three seed for winning their Division.