Senators aim to break through against Bruins
SENATORS (24-21-4) at BRUINS (23-16-8)
Last 10 —
Ottawa 4-6-0; Boston 4-5-1
Season series —
The Bruins have won all four games played against the Senators this season. After Monday’s game, the Northeast Division rivals will have one more scheduled matchup left in 2009-10, on Jan. 23 in Boston.
Big story —
Boston has fared very well against the Senators recently, winning 11 of the last 12 meetings between the teams, including six straight at TD Garden. However, the Sens are looking to build on their current winning streak, as a victory Monday would be their third in a row.
Ottawa has overcome a series of injuries throughout the season to remain right in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Sens have won two straight after dropping their previous five games. Saturday’s 4-2 win over the rival Montreal Canadiens was exactly the type of win the Senators needed as they attempt to make their way up the playoff standings while keeping the competition at bay.
Having captain Daniel Alfredsson
back for his first game on Saturday since missing three weeks with a shoulder injury was certainly a much-welcomed sight for Ottawa as the captain scored a goal and added an assist.
"It's a great boost for us, not only (Alfredsson's) skill but that's what his leadership is, by going out there and leading by example, working hard every time he's on the ice and being reliable," Chris Phillips
said of his teammate after Saturday’s game.
The B's have been inconsistent for most of the season but they still sit just above the Senators as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. Boston has dropped five of its last seven games, including a hard-fought 4-3 shootout loss at Los Angeles on Saturday. The Bruins will return home to TD Garden on Monday after a brief three-game West Coast trip that saw them break even at 1-1-1.
"Our guys left it all on the ice again today," Boston coach Claude Julien said after Saturday’s loss. "It's unfortunate that we weren't able to come up with the win."
Who's hot —
Rookie goalie Mike Brodeur has won his first three NHL starts for the Senators, establishing a .966 save percentage along with a 1.00 goals-against average over that span … Miroslav Satan has managed a point in three of the six games he has played for the Bruins since returning to the NHL on Jan. 5.
Injury report —
Ottawa goalie Pascal Leclaire
is out with a concussion, while centre Jason Spezza
(torn right MCL), left wing Milan Michalek
(head) and centre Jesse Winchester
(right knee) are all on injured reserve … Boston forwards Patrice Bergeron (broken thumb) and Marc Savard (partially torn MCL), as well as defencemen Mark Stuart (broken sternum) and Andrew Ference (groin), are all sidelined.
Stat pack —
Ottawa’s 13.8 per cent on the power play is last in the league … Boston is just barely avoiding last in the NHL with an average of 2.47 goals per game.
Puck drop —
While the Senators have fought through injuries all season long, they have to consider themselves lucky that younger players have been able to step in to keep them afloat in the playoff race. Perhaps they should be most thankful for the recent strong play of the rookie goalie Brodeur, who has been nothing less than spectacular in relief of the injured Leclaire.
"I'm floating right now, that's for sure," said Brodeur after picking up his third NHL win in Montreal on Saturday.
More good news could be around the corner, as both Spezza and defenceman Filip Kuba
(upper body) skated with the team Sunday in Boston. While Spezza isn't yet close to a return, Kuba has been inserted into the lineup for today's game. Also, winger Milan Michalek
began skating in Ottawa for the first time since suffering a concussion earlier this month.