The Bruins (36-19-7), fresh off beating the Western Conference cellar dwellers in Edmonton Sunday night, wrap up their season-long, six-game road trip this evening as they head back to Canada’s capital to face off with the Eastern Conference’s cellar dwellers, the Ottawa Senators (21-32-9).
This Ottawa Senators team a much different one than the Bruins last faced, less than two weeks ago. The Sens were one of the biggest sellers leading up to yesterday’s trade deadline, dishing off everyone they could, with Mike Fisher (Nashville), Chris Kelly (Boston), Jarkko Ruutu (Anaheim), Alex Kovalev (Pittsburgh), Brian Elliott (Colorado), and Chris Campoli (Chicago) all leaving their Senator sweaters behind over the last week or so.
Let’s get you pumped and jacked for tonight’s tilt with some pre-game notes…
- Tonight marks the fifth of six meetings between these two division rivals this season. So far, Boston has won three of the previous four contests, outscoring Ottawa 14-4 collectively.
- Boston wrapped up the month of February with a solid 8-4-0 record, as they kick off a pivotal month of March tonight that features a busy slate of 15 games, including Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and two with Montreal.
- With their recent road success, the Bruins have earned themselves the distinction of owning the NHL’s best road record, now a mark that stands at 21-7-4. At the rate their going, they’ll never want to come back to TD Garden.
- Despite ravaging their roster the past few weeks, the Sens have enjoyed a mild amount of success recently. Since losing 4-2 to Boston back on February 18th, Ottawa has won three of their last four games, including a shocking 4-1 win over East-leading Philadelphia on Saturday.
- On top of everyone they’ve traded away, the Sens are missing a large handful of players due to injury. Chris Neil (lower body) is listed as day-to-day, goalie Pascal Leclaire (lower body) and forward Peter Regin (shoulder) are out indefinitely, and Sergei Gonchar (lower body), Daniel Alfredsson (back), and Jesse Winchester (knee) are all on injured reserve.
- The B’s will likely will be without defenseman Andrew Ference again tonight, as he nurses an undisclosed injury he sustained in Saturday night’s win over Vancouver. GM Peter Chiarelli wouldn’t elaborate on the injury, but did say it may be up to two weeks before Ference can return to the lineup. Other than he and Marc Savard (concussion), the Bruins remain reasonably healthy.
- Ottawa’s anemic offense is led by young defenseman Erik Karlsson (9G, 24A), followed by center Jason Spezza (12G, 20A). Spezza is currently riding a three-game points streak, with two goals and four assists in that stretch. Injured captain Daniel Alfredsson is third on the team in points (14G, 17A). These three players are the only Senators with more than 30 points. In contrast, the Bruins have 10 players with 30 or more points, including five with 40 or more.
- Neither goaltender currently on Ottawa was on the team when the B’s came on February 18th. Craig Anderson (16-16-3, 3.04GAA) is the new #1 for the Sens, acquired in a one-for-one swap with Brian Elliott heading to Colorado. He is backed up by newly acquired Curtis McElhinney (6-9-1, 3.43GAA), claimed off waivers last week from Tampa Bay.
- Tuukka Rask was the first goalie off the ice this morning at the team’s pre-game skate, indicating he will get his second straight start in goal tonight. Rask has won three of the five games on this road trip so far.
- Winger Milan Lucic continues to build on his career year this season. In his last five games, he has four goals and eight assists.
Tags: Boston Bruins, Chris Kelly, Craig Anderson, Erik Karlsson, Jason Spezza, Milan Lucic, Ottawa Senators, Rich Peverley, Tomas Kaberle, Tuukka Rask