|Notes and Observations Week 15: Patriots Blow Out Dolphins 41-13; Clinch AFC East||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Defense, Special Teams Carry Home Team||Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 15||Right Idea? Red Sox Bring in Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson|
The Bruins (21-13-7) will finish the second half of their brief two-game road trip this evening in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa, as they head to ScotiaBank Place to take on the division rival Ottawa Senators (22-16-4). This matchup will feature teams that currently occupy the Eastern Conference’s fifth and sixth seeds, separated by just one point. With a win tonight, Ottawa could leap-frog Boston into the #5 spot and into second place in the Northeast Division.
Both teams are heading into tonight’s skate with major injury questions. For Ottawa, they will be without two of their team leaders, both on the stat sheet and in the locker room. Center Jason Spezza has a torn knee ligament that has him sidelined indefinitely, while winger Daniel Alfredsson has missed the last five games with a separated shoulder.
Boston’s injury woes got even worse last night, as the team will be without leading points producer Patrice Bergeron tonight, and probably long term (up to 6 weeks!). Bergeron left last night’s game in New York early in the second period, after taking a slap shot off the stick of teammate Dennis Wideman, square on his hand. Bergeron left the ice and has since left the team, traveling back to Boston for tests instead of heading north with the team to Ottawa. This obviously leaves Bergeron’s spot on the Canadian Olympic roster in question, depending on the extent of his injury. The B’s are already missing defenseman Mark Stuart (broken sternum) and winger Milan Lucic (high ankle sprain).
In order to fill Bergeron’s spot on the forward lines tonight, according to the Boston Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont, Boston will rush the newly acquired Miroslav Satan into the lineup to face the Sens. Satan was signed just a few short days ago and initially was thought to need about 7-10 days before getting up to game speed. Instead, the new #81 will dress tonight.
Now that the bumped and bruised are out of the way, let us set our sights on those that will play this evening. A few game notes to feast your eyes on, heading into tonight’s tilt with the Sens…