Senators-Bruins Preview

The Ottawa Senators routed a red-hot opponent in their final

game before the Christmas break. In their return, they’ll try to

end the Boston Bruins’ recent dominance at home.

The Bruins will seek to extend their point streak at the TD

Garden to 15 games and earn an eighth consecutive win there in

Friday night’s opener to a two-game series with the Senators.

Ottawa (15-17-7) snapped an 0-2-1 skid with a 5-0 victory over

Pittsburgh on Monday and halted the Penguins’ seven-game win

streak. Erik Karlsson had a goal and two assists, and Craig

Anderson stopped 27 shots to help the Senators end a three-game

stretch in which they allowed 13 goals.

“It’s the best way we possibly could (head into the break),”

coach Paul MacLean said. “If we were looking for something under

the tree that could be a motivator for us and a feel-good thing for

us, beating Pittsburgh 5-0 we can head into this three-day break

with a positive attitude.”

Ottawa is seeking back-to-back victories for the first time

since a season-high, three-game win streak Nov. 5-9, but appears to

have a daunting task in trying to end that drought.

Despite being short-handed lately, the Bruins (25-10-2) are

12-0-2 at home since a 4-3 loss to New Jersey on Oct. 26. Their

seven consecutive wins there are their most since a 14-game streak

in 2008-09.

Boston has also won seven of nine overall and outscored its

final two opponents before the break by a combined 10-3 margin.

Veteran forward Jarome Iginla scored two goals in a 6-2 rout in

Nashville on Monday, and the Bruins also got some help from younger

players Ryan Spooner and Matt Fraser.

Spooner came into the game with four career points but exited

with three assists – two on power-play goals. Boston went 3 for 3

with the man advantage, and Fraser’s even-strength goal was the

second of his career.

The efforts of Spooner and Fraser helped the Bruins once again

make up for a bevy of absences due to injury and Shawn Thornton’s

15-game suspension. Loui Eriksson (concussion), Chris Kelly

(fractured fibula), Dougie Hamilton (lower body) and Daniel Paille

(concussion) are among those who have been injured this month.

“There is depth in this organization,” forward Reilly Smith

said. ”A lot of teams may have looked past us in the last few

games because we have so many guys who aren’t regulars on the

roster like Spooner and Fraser.”

The Bruins have won six of their last eight home games against

the Senators but fell 4-2 in the most recent visit April 28. They

also lost 4-2 in Ottawa on Nov. 15 after blowing an early two-goal

lead and have dropped back-to-back games in the series after

winning 13 of 14.

Senators defenseman Jared Cowen scored two of his nine career

goals in those two games, including the tiebreaking one in the win

in November. Karlsson, meanwhile, extended his point streak against

Boston to six games.

Karlsson has three goals and six assists during that run, and

Jason Spezza has the same totals in his last six matchups.

The teams will complete the home-and-home set Saturday in

Ottawa.