Mar 11, 2013; Ottawa, ON, CAN; Ottawa Senators left wing Kaspars Daugavins (23) is denied the goal on Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask (40) in the shootout at Scotiabank Place. The Bruins defeated the Senators 3-2 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Game # 31 Preview - Boston Bruins @ Ottawa Senators

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After a sparkling 3rd period on Long Island to rescue a victory, the Senators return home to face the big, bad, Bruins.

19-6-3, 4th Eastern Conference

VS

16-8-6, 5th Eastern Conference

 

7:30 PM

TV: Rogers Sportsnet;  RADIO:  TEAM1200

 

HEAD TO HEAD

The Senators have played the Bruins well this season, but have just two point to show for two meetings.  They dropped a 2-1 overtime decision in Boston on Feb 28th and then a 3-2 shootout final, in the infamous Kaspars Daugavins game 10 days ago.  Robin Lehner played both games, making 77 saves combined in the two games.

 

LAST GAMES

While Ottawa was scoring 4 times in the third period to rescue a big two points against the Islanders for their third straight win, Boston was allowing 3 third period goals to the Jets in a 3-1 loss.  Both games were Tuesday away, so they have the same amount of travel (relatively speaking) and rest between games.

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Ryan Spooner, BOS – The Ottawa native and former Peterborough Pete, Kingston Frontenac and Sarnia Sting standout was called up earlier in the week to take the place of David Krejci, who suffered a knee injury on Sunday against the Penguins.  It was his second callup, as he played a game against Montreal in early Feburary.  While he played just over 5 minutes in his debut against the Habs, he was used in Krejci’s second line centre role on Tuesday and played over 15 minutes.  He is still looking for his first NHL point, and will likely be buoyed by having a lot of family members and friends in the crowd in his hometown.

Sergei Gonchar, OTT – Gonchar hs stepped his offensive game up lately, without losing anything defensively.  He is currently on an 8 game points streak during which he has 1 goal and 12 assists, and is +4 while playing over 25 minutes almost every time out.  The former Bruin has 7 goals and 20 assists in 60 career games against his former club.

 

3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME

1. Lehner Due – Lehner will be between the pipes for the third straight time against the Bruins, and deserves a better fate. He has had games of 33 and 44 saves, but hasn’t got the offensive support to get a W.

2. Possible First Round Preview? – If the playoffs started today, this would be the matchup in the first round.  While Boston has eyes on the first seed, Ottawa can narrow the gap to a single point (although Boston will still have 2 games in hand).  Boston could be the worst possible matchup for the Sens, as the B’s have won 7 of the last 8 meetings.

3. Thin Blue Line – Ottawa’s defense corps cannot withstand much more injury.  Already without Erik Karlsson and Jared Cowen, Marc Methot went down with a leg injury on Tuesday.  He should not be out too long, and could possibly return for this game, but if not, Mike Lundin will draw back in for his first action since being steamrolled by Harry Zolnierczyk.

 

PARTING SHOT

The Senators are an unbelievable 10-1- 3 at home, a testament to the ability of Paul MacLean to get his matchups with last change.  The way the Senators have been putting points on the board, they can afford to drop one in the standings.  However, a win would send a real message that they are not only a playoff team, but are ready to challenge the top teams in the conference, stars or no stars in the lineup.

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Tags: Boston Bruins Game Preview Ottawa Senators Robin Lehner Ryan Spooner Sergei Gonchar

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