After a tough loss to a team much lower in the standings, the Senators are looking to bounce back and continue their winning ways of the past week.
(12-5-1, 25 points) 2nd Atlantic Division
(7-7-4, 18 points) 6th Atlantic Division
7:30 PM, Canadian Tire Centre
TV: Rogers Sportsnet ; Radio: TSN1200
The Senators and Bruins faced off five times last season. The Senators may have lost four of the five games, but they managed at least a point in three of them. Ottawa lost 2-1 in overtime and 3-2 in the shootout in the first two matchups, followed by 2-1 and 3-2 losses in games three and four. The Senators won their final matchup – and final game of the regular season – 4-2.
The Senators are coming off a 5-0 loss to the Flyers on Tuesday. They’ll be looking to bounce back, but the Bruins aren’t the greatest team to play when you’re looking to regain confidence. The Bruins are currently on a four game win streak, beating the Blue Jackets, the Maple Leafs, the Panthers and the Stars. They’re looking for their first five game win streak of the season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kyle Turris – OTT – What a season he’s been having. Turris is currently tied for seventh in league scoring (along with six others) with 18 points in 18 games, and tied for second with Erik Karlsson for team scoring behind Bobby Ryan who has 19 points in 18 games. Ryan’s goal scoring ability has definitely helped Turris in the assists category, but Ryan isn’t the only reason Turris is starting so strong. At the beginning of the season, during the Michalek-Spezza-Ryan experiment, the MacArthur-Turris-Conacher line was the best for the Senators. I’m not saying that Ryan isn’t contributing – one look at his stats and you know he’s doing more than just contributing – but the MacArthur-Turris combo is great. Maybe not as great without a star like Ryan skating alongside them, but they’ve been two of the three members of the Senators best line all season.
Milan Lucic – BOS – He’s had quite the season so far as well. 15 points, including 8 goals. He hasn’t been the greatest against the Senators though. As skilled as Lucic is, his one major flaw would be his temper. The last time these two teams met, Eric Gryba managed to get under his skin numerous times, forcing Lucic to take a penalty late in the game. Gryba matches Lucic’s size, and if he can play well in the Senators’ zone, he may be a good (and only) option for the Senators to have out on the ice for most of Lucic’s shifts.
TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
1. Streaky Karlsson - Erik Karlsson’s season has been filled with ups and downs, from starting strong to having trouble, then seeming to find his game again, then once again having difficulty to make plays. Hopefully what we saw against the Flyers won’t continue into tonight’s game, because Patrick Wiercioch is not making a good case for himself to be the Senators’ “other puck moving defenceman”.
2. Andy VS Lehner - The goaltending decision against the Bruins will be interesting. Which goalie should be used? There’s reasons for both. Robin Lehner was the NHL’s first star of the week last week, being a major part of the Senators’ first three game win streak of the season. On the other hand, despite the fact that he’s been struggling, Craig Anderson is still the Senators’ number one goalie. Anderson may have allowed 5 goals against the Flyers, but he can’t win a game on his own. The Senators’ offense couldn’t put any plays together, and their defence looked the worst it’s been all season. If they want a better chance to win, and cause some goalie controversy, they should put Lehner in. However, Paul MacLean may want to prove that he has faith in Anderson, and start him instead.
3. Size > Skill - Chances are good that MacLean will be wanting to play his tougher players to match the Bruins’ toughness. This means we may have to witness Jared Cowen, Eric Gryba, Matt Kassian, and Chris Neil all play in one night. The Senators’ toughness and size is what got them past the first round in last year’s first round of the playoffs, but the Canadiens are about half the size of the Bruins. Hopefully they’ll be able to stand up against the big bodies from Boston.
One of the biggest problems for the Senators this season is that their offensive output has been largely from just one line. Jason Spezza needs solid wingers, and Bryan Murray doesn’t have to acquire anyone, for now at least. We’ve seen short periods of time that Cory Conacher and Milan Michalek have played with Spezza, as well as Mika Zibanejad recently. They haven’t been producing a whole lot, but Paul MacLean needs to give new linemates a bit more than 15 minutes of ice time before deciding to try something else. I wouldn’t be against trying Michalek-Spezza-Zibanejad for a game or two, just to see what happens.