Simsbury’s Tommy Cross earns first-career NHL playoff point

Boston Bruins' Tommy Cross pauses on the ice as he watches the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Arizona Coyotes Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. The Bruins defeated the Coyotes 5-3. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

In the Boston Bruins’ loss to the Ottawa Senators on Monday night, a Connecticut hockey product played an important role in giving the Bruins a chance to win.

Six minutes into the third period, the Bruins scored after falling behind 3-0. Just 42 seconds later, defenseman Tommy Cross lofted the puck out of his defensive zone where it was mishandled by Senators winger Bobby Ryan. Bruins forward David Backes pounced on the loose puck and beat Senators goalie Crag Anderson to cut a three goal deficit to just one in less than a minute. The assist was just the second of Cross’s career and was his first career playoff point at the NHL level, swinging the momentum decidedly in Boston’s favor. The Bruins then subsequently scored a third goal, tying the game at three goals a piece and forcing overtime.

Tommy Cross, a 27-year-old defender from Simsbury, Conn., was called up on emergency basis by the Boston Bruins and slotted into the lineup for the third game of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Cross, a longtime American Hockey League player with the Providence Bruins, skated on the third defensive pairing, filling in on a depleted Bruins blue line. He was drafted by the Bruins with 35th overall pick in the 2007 NHL Draft before enjoying a four year stint at Boston College. Cross had spent his entire career in the AHL before being called up for three games last season. He notched his first point with an assist against the Arizona Coyotes on October 17, 2015. Tonight’s contest was also Cross’s first career NHL playoff game.

Cross’s contribution came at a critical time as the Bruins are currently trying to win a playoff series without a handful of their top defensemen who are sidelined with various injuries. Of the six defenders who played in Monday night’s game, only two were regulars throughout most of the season.

The Senators currently lead the series 2-1. Game 4 will be played in Boston on April 19 with puck drop set for 7:30 p.m.

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