Bruins-Senators Preview

The Northeast Division-leading Boston Bruins appear to be back

on track following their longest pointless streak of the

season.

Now they’re hoping All-Star Tim Thomas can break out of his

funk.

Thomas, who could be in net after getting the night off in the

Bruins’ last game, looks to continue his dominance of the lowly

Ottawa Senators on Friday night at Scotiabank Place.

Boston (32-19-7) opened a six-game road trip with a 6-3 win over

the New York Islanders on Thursday, snapping a three-game

regulation losing streak. Six Bruins scored as the team equaled the

number of goals it had during its skid to move two points ahead of

Montreal atop the division.

“Good way to start the road trip,” Boston coach Claude Julien

said. “We worked hard for these two points.”

The Bruins shored up their defense Friday by acquiring veteran

blue liner Tomas Kaberle from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange

for prospect Joe Colborne and two draft picks, including their

first-rounder in 2011.

Julien went with Tuukka Rask in goal against the Islanders, and

the backup stepped up with 34 saves.

The coach had said after Wednesday’s practice that he was going

to give Thomas some days off to keep him fresh, but it seems

probable he’ll be back between the pipes against one of his

favorite opponents.

Thomas, just 1-2-0 with a 4.55 goals-against average in his last

four games, is 13-3-0 with a 1.47 GAA and five shutouts in his last

16 starts against Ottawa. He has started all three of Boston’s

games against the Senators this season, going 2-1-0 with two

shutouts while stopping 91 of 93 shots.

In the last meeting between these teams on Jan. 11, Thomas made

31 saves while Patrice Bergeron recorded his first career hat trick

in a 6-0 win.

That loss was one of 18 for Ottawa in its last 20 games.

The scuffling Senators (18-30-9) managed to end an 11-game skid

Saturday in Edmonton, but followed that up with Tuesday’s 4-3

shootout loss to the Islanders. Bobby Butler and Ryan Shannon

scored on the power play and Erik Karlsson had the other goal for

Ottawa, which fell to 0-9 in games that have gone to overtime or a

shootout.

“It would be nice if we could win a shootout once in a while,”

center Jason Spezza said.

After that loss, Ottawa traded center Chris Kelly to Boston for

a second-round pick in this year’s draft. The Senators also dealt

Mike Fisher to Nashville last week, Jarkko Ruutu to Anaheim on

Thursday and swapped goaltenders with Colorado on Friday, acquiring

Craig Anderson for Brian Elliott.

Kelly, who was fifth on the Senators with 12 goals, is suddenly

playing for a contender, and is expected to make his Bruins debut

against his former team.

“It’ll be a weird feeling coming out on the other side of the

rink,” he said. “Ottawa’s all I know, being drafted here and

playing my whole career here.”

Kelly will be trying to add to Ottawa’s misery at home that he

recently experienced.

The Senators, losers of 15 of 17 in Ottawa, are 0-6-3 at

Scotiabank Place since beating Pittsburgh 3-1 on Dec. 26. This is

Ottawa’s longest home losing streak since dropping 10 straight from

Nov. 30, 1995-Jan. 25, 1996.

Breaking out of this slide against Boston won’t be easy. The

Bruins, 5-2-0 on the road since Jan. 10, have outscored the

Senators 14-4 in winning their last four games in Ottawa, and have

won seven of their last eight there.