The Boston Bruins' best offensive showing of the season came last week against the Ottawa Senators, but they suffered a key loss thanks to Brad Marchand's low hit on Mark Borowiecki.
It's fittingly the Senators that Marchand will face Saturday night in his return from a three-game suspension for that hit.
Boston (21-14-4) scored four third-period goals to beat Ottawa 7-3 at home on Dec. 29 after falling 3-1 on the road two days earlier despite a 39-22 shots advantage.
While the Bruins were setting a season high in scoring and salvaging a split in the home-and-home set, Marchand up-ended Borowiecki in the first period. Although he wasn't assessed a penalty, Marchand received a three-game suspension as a repeat offender.
Marchand is tied with Patrice Bergeron with a team-leading 15 goals, and his absence was felt as Boston went 1-2 without him.
The Bruins, though, kicked off this trip Friday with a 4-1 victory at New Jersey, as Ryan Spooner had a goal and assist to back Jonas Gustavsson's 19 saves.
Boston is 12-3-2 on the road for a league-high .765 winning percentage. That's offset their 9-11-2 home record that ranks toward the bottom of the NHL.
"Maybe we keep it a little more simple on the road," Gustavsson said after the Bruins won for the fourth time in their last five away from home.
Jimmy Hayes scored Friday to give him four goals in four games. That stretch started Dec. 29 when he tallied his first career hat trick against the Senators (19-16-6).
He has no points in the last three visits to the Canadian capital.
Spooner has six points (one goal, five assists) in his past four games overall, and four goals and two assists in his last four against the Senators.
Tuukka Rask, who should be back in net, has been instrumental in Boston's road success. He's 7-2-2 with a 1.85 goals-against average away from TD Garden, but is 1-3-0 with a 3.50 GAA over his last five starts at Ottawa.
The Senators are 4-8-1 in their last 13 games, dropping four of five while being outscored 18-8. They gave up two goals in an 8-second span of the first period in Thursday's 3-2 loss to Florida despite yielding a season-low 16 shots.
Ottawa gives up a league-high 33.3 shots per game but has shown some improvement with 26.3 over the last four contests.
"We're playing better," center Kyle Turris told the team's official website. "It's funny how that works, when you start playing better and things start turning around in terms of how the team's playing, and things just aren't going your way.
"We've just got to realize it's going to come. We're going to start getting bounces and scoring goals. We've just got to stick with what we're doing."
Turris may heed his own advice as he's failed to score in 10 straight games. His current streak includes a pointless effort at Boston last month. However, he had two assists at home two days earlier, giving him two goals and three assists in the last two matchups there.
Mike Hoffman leads the Senators with 19 goals, but he's scored twice in the past 10 games. One of those tallies, though, came at Boston on Dec. 29.
The Bruins have lost four of five at Ottawa following an 11-game win streak there.