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Nash scores 2 goals as surging B’s beat Sens, 5-1

  • Boston Bruins center Riley Nash, second from right, is congratulated after his goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Ottawa Senators in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand, left, breaks towards the net as Ottawa Senators defenseman Johnny Oduya (29) keeps close during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson, right, tries to poke the puck away from Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017. The Bruins defeated the Senators 5-1. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) hits the ice hard on a check from Ottawa Senators right wing Bobby Ryan (9) during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa



Associated Press
Wednesday, December 27, 2017

BOSTON — Bruins captain Zdeno Chara didn’t hesitate when he was asked if Boston is beginning to believe it’s a top team.

“We know we have a good hockey team with good players. If we play to our way with our strength, we are effective,” Chara said after the surging Bruins beat the Ottawa Senators 5-1 on Wednesday night for their fifth straight victory.

“It’s easy to get comfortable and complacent. It’s hard to play with that confidence every game,” he added. “It’s easy to lose it. We want to stay on top of that.”

Riley Nash scored two goals, Kevan Miller got his first of the season and the Bruins won for the 14th time in 18 games. Tuukka Rask stopped 25 shots, improving to 9-0-1 in his past 10 games. Rask was selected the NHL’s first star for last week.

“I think the last month or so everybody’s been contributing,” Rask said. “That’s what we talk about needing to have happen.”

Danton Heinen and David Backes also scored for Boston in the first meeting between the teams since Ottawa beat the Bruins in the opening round of the playoffs last spring. Nash also had an assist on Miller’s goal.

Thomas Chabot scored and Craig Anderson made 18 saves for struggling Ottawa, which lost for the ninth time in 11 games (2-7-2).

“We can’t find ways to push back — and today was another one of those,” Senators captain Erik Karlsson said. “I think as of right now we’re not playing up to the standard that we expect of ourselves and I think everybody knows it.”

The Bruins scored twice in the opening 8½ minutes and eventually built a 3-0 lead.

Miller skated quickly to a rebound in the right circle and unloaded a rising shot that sailed over Anderson’s shoulder 5:22 into the game. Heinen redirected a perfect pass from Ryan Spooner at the edge of the crease to make it 2-0. Spooner skated down the right wing and sent a backhand pass to the net.

Nash then blocked Karlsson’s shot at the point and broke in on a partial breakaway before beating Anderson with a wrister to his glove side, making it 3-0 just 1:25 into the second.

“We’re not proud how we played,” Chabot said

Chabot sliced it to 3-1 on a slap shot from the right point, but Nash answered for Boston with his second goal.

He broke in down the left wing, shifted the puck from his forehand to backhand and faked out Anderson before tucking the puck in just between the netminder’s right skate and the left post.

Senators defenseman Fredrik Claesson was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for a check to the head of forward Noel Acciari in the opening period.