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
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