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Ice Breakers: Bruins-Senators, Tuesday 1/5

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.

Patrice Bergeron Injury Status

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…

  • Boston and Ottawa have already met three times this season, with three more games to come this month. Boston has won all three previous games this season, winning a pair of 4-3 shootout games (on Oct. 24 and on Nov. 28), then shutting out Ottawa 2-0 last month.
  • Tonight’s game will mark the end of a five-game homestand for the Sens. Ottawa has won three of four during the stretch, including Sunday’s big 7-4 win over the Flyers. No team in the Eastern Conference has more wins at home (16) than the Ottawa Senators have.
  • In that 7-4 win over Philadelphia, more than half of Ottawa’s goals came off the stick of winger Alexei Kovalev. Kovalev, who came over from Montreal in the off-season, notched four goals in Sunday’s game. He has scored in just two of his last 28 games, but has at least a hat trick in those two games, having scored three goals against Carolina back on December 12th.
  • Kovalev (11G, 16A) and Alfredsson (9G, 22A) are among the team’s scoring leaders, but the man atop the stat sheet for the Senators is newly engaged centerman Mike Fisher (15G, 17A). It was announced last month that Fisher is engaged to country singer and former American Idol winner Carrie Underwood. (Take that, Romo!)
  • In place of Daniel Alfredsson, winger Ryan Shannon has been filling in nicely for Ottawa. The ex-Boston College Eagle has four goals and three assists in the five games since Alfredsson’s injury. Shannon played in Chestnut Hill between 2001 and 2005.
  • Manning the crease tonight, look for the Bruins to go with U.S. Olympian Tim Thomas in goal, while it is yet to be determined whether Ottawa will trot out Brian Elliott (10-9-5, 2.70GAA) or Pascal Leclaire (11-7-1, 2.95GAA). Elliott and Leclaire split time so closely for Ottawa, their minutes played are less than 30 minutes apart.

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