BOSTON — It wasn’t long ago that Clarke MacArthur was contemplating retirement. His decision to stick around for a playoff push paid off in a big way.
MacArthur, who missed all but the last four regular-season games after suffering a concussion in training camp, scored the winner on a power play 6:30 into overtime Sunday as the Ottawa Senators beat the Boston Bruins 3-2 to win their Eastern Conference quarter-final series in six games.
The 32-year-old MacArthur sat out 156 regular-season games in total over the two seasons because of multiple concussions and had moved to Florida to prepare for retirement.
“There’s nothing like living in the NHL and living in these playoffs,” MacArthur said. “(Retirement is) something everyone’s going to have to deal with one day, but I want to stretch it out as long as I can obviously.”
After a 3-2 double-overtime loss to the Bruins in Game 5 on Friday, the Senators weren’t facing a must-win game — but MacArthur made sure the series ended in six anyway.
MacArthur’s goal, his second of the post-season, followed a holding penalty to Boston right-winger David Pastrnak. MacArthur scored on the rebound of Bobby Ryan’s shot 36 seconds into the power play.
Ryan and Kyle Turris also scored for the Senators and Craig Anderson made 28 saves.
It was the fourth overtime game of the series. Every game was decided by one goal.
Ottawa will face the New York Rangers in the conference semifinals. New York beat Montreal 3-1 on Saturday to win its quarter-final series in six games. The Senators won two of three regular-season meetings against the Rangers this year.
“We’re going to use this (off) time well and we’re going to prepare to play New York here in the second round, and we’ve got to keep pushing forward,” said defenceman Erik Karlsson, who admitted after the game that he played the entire series with two hairline fractures in his left heel.
“I feel like we have a strong group, we have a deep group.”
Drew Stafford and Patrice Bergeron scored for Boston. Tuukka Rask had 26 stops.
Rask said he was proud of the resolve the Bruins displayed after longtime coach Claude Julien was fired on Feb. 7 and replaced by interim Bruce Cassidy. Boston went 18-8-1 under Cassidy to close the regular season and snap a two-year playoff drought.
“We battled hard,” Rask said. “Ever since after the coaching change, we really came together as a group. We got in the playoffs and then played a heck of a series. … It was a hard-fought series and just didn’t go our way.”
Asked if he wants to return as Bruins’ coach, Cassidy said: “Absolutely, 100 per cent.”
Stafford scored Boston’s first opening-period goal of the series at 18:13 on his wrister from the right circle. It was Stafford’s second of the series, and it came on a power play after a tripping penalty on Mike Stone.
The Sens tied it with their own power-play goal as Ryan tipped a Derick Brassard rocket past Rask 3:26 into the second. The goal was Ryan’s team-leading fourth of the playoffs.
Turris silenced the sellout crowd of 17,565 at TD Garden as he beat Rask high stick side from the slot at 8:32 of the second to put Ottawa ahead 2-1.
Bergeron brought the hometown fans back to life and pulled the Bruins even 1:57 into the third, tucking in a loose puck after Brad Marchand’s shot bounced off Anderson. It was Bergeron’s first goal of the playoffs.
Boston was without centre David Krejci, who left Friday’s Game 5 after taking a knee-to-knee hit from Senators defenceman Chris Wideman late in the first period. Krejci also missed Games 1 and 2 with an upper-body injury.
Notes: Wideman was scratched after struggling in the Game 5 loss. D Fredrik Claesson was added to the lineup. “I think giving (Wideman) a little break will help him,” Sens coach Guy Boucher said. … Ottawa LW Viktor Stalberg (undisclosed) played despite being a game-time decision. D Mark Borowiecki (leg) and LW Tom Pyatt (upper body) remained out. C Tommy Wingels, a healthy scratch since Game 1, returned to the lineup. … Boston D Torey Krug (lower body) has resumed skating but did not play.