BRUINS (36-20-3) at SENATORS (32-22-8)
TV: CBC, RDS; NESN
LAST 10: Boston 4-5-1; Ottawa 5-3-2
Season Series: The Northeast Division rivals are meeting for the fourth time this season. Boston has won the first three, including a 4-3 victory at TD Garden on Jan. 31 in the most recent meeting. The Bruins have won the last seven games in the series.
Big Story: The Bruins have been the presumed winners in the Northeast since they shook off their early-season struggles. Don't look now, but the Senators are coming up fast in the rear-view mirror — a regulation win will move them within one point of Boston, though the Bruins have three games in hand. The teams meet again Tuesday in Boston
Bruins: From the start of November through mid-January, the Bruins were the class of the NHL. Not anymore. The B's haven't won back-to-back games since Jan. 10-12, and they are just 8-9-2 in their last 19 after dropping a 2-1 shootout decision in Buffalo on Friday. Zdeno Chara earned the Bruins a point with his third-period goal, but Derek Roy's goal in the fourth round of the tiebreaker gave the Sabres the extra point.
"A point for us is okay," goaltender Tuukka Rask said. "We haven't played consistently over the past couple of weeks. But I think against St. Louis we played a great game, and today we played a good game ... and we have to keep it going."
Senators: The loss to the Bruins at the end of January was part of an 0-6-1 skid that had many wondering if the Senators were about to slide out of the playoff race. Instead, they've rebounded with a 5-0-1 run, including decisive wins against the Islanders (6-0) and Capitals (5-2) this week.
"We're getting contributions from everyone offensively and the structure of our team play has been very good and the attention to detail in the defensive zone is getting better," coach Paul MacLean said. "As a result our goals against is getting better, and we're creating way more offence out of the way we play defence."
Who's Hot: Ottawa defenceman Erik Karlsson is on a five-game point streak in which he's had five goals and seven assists — with 60 points, he's 20 ahead of runner-up Brian Campbell among all NHL blueliners. Centre Jason Spezza has seven goals and nine assists during a seven-game streak.
Injury Report: The Bruins are still without forwards Nathan Horton (concussion) and Rich Peverley (knee surgery) … Ottawa lost starting goaltender Craig Anderson (lacerated hand) to an accident at home after Wednesday's win against Washington. Peter Regin (shoulder surgery) is out for the season; Jesse Winchester (concussion) isn't ready to return.
Stat Pack: Expect Tim Thomas to be in goal for Boston — he's won all three games against the Senators this season. Thomas is also 8-0-0 with a 1.35 goals-against average in his last eight games at Scotiabank Place.
Puck Drop: The injury to Anderson puts the spotlight squarely on backup goaltender Alex Auld, who is just 2-3-2 this season — though he's 4-2-0 in six career starts against the Bruins.
"I look at it as an opportunity," Auld told the team's website. "Craig is a huge part of our team, and it's a tough loss. I think we have a capable group and we're playing good hockey. We've just got to keep that going."