Tied atop the Northeast Division standings, the Bruins (12-8-5, 29 pts.) host Daniel Alfredsson and the Ottawa Senators (13-7-3, 29 pts.) tonight at the TD Garden.
Both teams come in to tonight’s matchup with some strong momentum, as Ottawa has won five of their last six games, coming off a 2-1 Thanksgiving win over Columbus. Boston on the other hand, put together their first four-game win streak of the season, before yesterday’s 2-1 shootout loss to the Devils. Tuukka Rask, in relief of the injured Tim Thomas, has started in six straight, going 4-1-1 during that span. The B’s have been able to earn points in 9 of their last 10 games (6-1-3), helping them vault up the standings, where most thought they would be.
Here now, a closer look at tonight’s skate with the division rival Sens…
- Boston won the first meeting of these two squads in exciting fashion back on Oct. 24th, 4-3 in the shootout. The B’s found themselves down 3-1 late in the third period, but two goals in the last 90 seconds took the game to overtime and eventually, the shootout, where Boston earned the come-from-behind victory.
- Ottawa has lost 10 of their last 12 games against Boston, going 2-8-2 in that span.
- The Sens may get some reinforcements back in their lineup tonight, as both Mike Fisher and Anton Volchenkov could return from injury. Fisher has missed the past two games with an upper body injury, while the defenseman Volchenkov has been sidelined the last 12 matchups with an elbow injury.
- Ottawa’s offense is led by Daniel Alfredsson, whose eight goals and 15 assists, leads the stat sheet for the Sens. Following the big Swede is centerman Mike Fisher (10G, 11A), winger Milan Michalek (11G, 4A), and veteran center Jason Spezza (2G, 12A). Michalek, who came to the Sens in the offseason trade that sent superstar Dany Heatley to San Jose, has four goals in his last six games.
- In net for Ottawa, Pascal Leclaire (8-5-1, 2.71GAA) shoulders most of the workload, while Brian Elliott (5-2-2, 2.57GAA) serves as the team’s backup.
- For Boston, the B’s hope to have starting goalie Tim Thomas make his return to the crease tonight. Thomas, who has missed time recently with a right hand injury, did practice this morning and was the first goalie off the ice, which usually indicates he will get the starting nod this evening. Tuukka Rask has filled in admirably in Thomas’s absence.
- The key tonight: the Bruins need to get their power play plugged in and clicking again. Currently ranked 27th in the NHL at a woeful 14.0%, the Bruins have only scored a goal on the man-advantage in just seven of their 25 games this season. In those seven games, the B’s have a 5-1-1 record. In the other 18, a 7-7-4 mark.
Tags: Boston Bruins, Brian Elliott, Daniel Alfredsson, Mike Fisher, Ottawa Senators, Pascal Leclaire, Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask