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Ice Breakers: Bruins-Senators, Saturday 10-24

The Black and Gold travel north of the border Saturday for their first divisional game of the season against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place.

Behind some stellar saves by backup Tuukka Rask, the Bruins were able to steal a point on Thursday night, eventually falling to the Flyers in a shootout, 4-3. For the Senators, they are also coming off an overtime loss, 6-5 to Nashville Thursday. Despite the loss, Ottawa is 2-0-1 in their last 3 and have won 5 of their last 7.

While Boston is battling some major injuries to some key players, they will get gritty winger Shawn Thornton back in the lineup for the game. Thornton has missed the last two games with an undisclosed injury.

Here now, a few more notes to wet your whistle, leading up to Saturday night’s skate in the Canadian capital…

  • Ottawa is knotted with Buffalo atop the Northeast Division with 11 points a piece (5-2-1). Despite Boston’s inconsistent start (4-4-1, 9 points), with a win they can join these teams atop the division.
  • The Senators missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 1996.
  • In the offseason, the team’s leading scorer and superstar Dany Heatley, demanded a trade out of Ottawa. His request was granted, as GM Bryan Wilson shipped the talented forward to San Jose in exchange for Milan Michalek and Jonathan Cheechoo. Michalek leads the team with 5 goals, all coming in the team’s last 4 games. Cheechoo has added 2 assists thus far.
  • Atop the score sheet for Ottawa are three veteran Sens, led by Swedish power forward Daniel Alfredsson (3 goals, 8 assists). Also helping to light the lamp for Ottawa, centers Mike Fisher (2 goals, 5 assists) and Jason Spezza (0 goals, 7 assists).
  • Alexei Kovalev, who spent his past few seasons in the bleu, blanc, et rouge of the Montreal Canadiens, came to the Senators as a free agent in the offseason. Kovalev has potted 3 goals this season, with 1 assist.
  • In net for the game, judging by the morning skates of both teams, we will see Ottawa’s backup goaltender Brian Elliott make his second start of the year. Elliott won his only previous start. Ottawa’s leading netminder has been Pascal Leclaire (4-2-1, 2.76GAA). Elliott will likely face Boston’s top goalie, reigning Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas (3-3-0, 3.00GAA).
  • Ottawa’s only real familiar face to local hockey fans will be winger Shean Donovan. Donovan spent a year with Boston in ’06-’07, but was then shipped to Ottawa in exchange for Peter Schaefer, who has since been bought out by Boston. Donovan has a goal and an assist in 6 games played this season for the Sens.
  • Boston has won 7 of their last 8 matchups against Ottawa, including 5 of their 6 meetings during last season.
  • Saturday’s clash will mark the 1,500th NHL game for 41-year-old veteran Mark Recchi.

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