Fresh off comeback win, Bruins host Senators
Monday, 01.10.2011 / 11:49 PM
SENATORS (16-20-6) at BRUINS (22-12-7)
TV: SNET-E (HD), NESN (HD)
Last 10: Ottawa 3-4-3; Boston 5-2-3
Season series: Third of six meetings this season between these Northeast Division rivals. Each team has a shutout victory on its opponent's home ice. Bruins goalie Tim Thomas made 29 saves in a 4-0 win in Ottawa on Oct. 30, and Senators goalie Brian Elliott responded with 31 stops in a 2-0 win in Boston on Nov. 13.
Big story: The Bruins regained sole possession of first place in the division Monday night in rather dramatic fashion. Shut out for more than 56 minutes in Pittsburgh and trailing by a pair of goals, Boston scored twice in 12 seconds to tie the game, then got Mark Recchi's power-play goal and an empty-netter in the last minute for a 4-2 victory.
Senators: Now that Ottawa's deficit in the playoff race has reached double digits -- the Senators began play Tuesday 11 points behind the Canadiens for eighth in the Eastern Conference -- there isn't any time to waste as far as putting together a winning streak. A 2-1 loss to the Lightning on Saturday dropped the Senators to 0-3-2 in their last five, with just seven goals scored during that span.
"We're trying to stay in the present here," captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "We feel like we still have a chance and that's what we're working toward ... We can only look forward. We can't change what's done. We can control our work ethic in practice and in games. That's what we're going to have to have, especially now that we're missing some offensive players."
Bruins: It's safe to say Boston likes playing in the brand-new Consol Energy Center. They rallied from a 4-2 deficit in the third for a 7-4 victory on Nov. 10, and exactly two months later they broke the hearts of the Pittsburgh faithful once again. This one may have been even more stunning because the Bruins had nothing going until Zdeno Chara's power-play goal with 3:23 remaining. Brad Marchand quickly evened the score and that set up Recchi's heroics and Gregory Campbell's empty-netter.
"In the first and second, we had some great opportunities," Recchi said. "We could have been right in the game and we knew if we stayed with it, we could come back. We've done it in this building before and we believed we could do it."
Who's hot: Alfredsson has 2 goals and 2 assists over his last four games for the Senators. ... Patrice Bergeron has 2 goals and 3 assists during a three-game points streak for the Bruins. Rask has now won two of his last three starts while allowing only five goals over that span.
Injury report: Ottawa goalie Pascal Leclaire (lower body) and forward Jason Spezza (shoulder) remain out indefinitely, while forward Alex Kovalev is expected to miss at least the next week with a knee injury and forward Mike Fisher is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. ... Boston defenseman Adam McQuaid and forward Nathan Horton were out of the lineup Monday for undisclosed reasons, while defenseman Mark Stuart (broken finger) is on injured reserve.
Stat pack: Second-year defenseman Erik Karlsson leads the Senators with 17 assists and his 25 points are one behind Alfredsson for first in overall scoring. ... Chara was a plus-1 on Monday and tied Horton for the Bruins' lead with a plus-15 for the season.
Puck drop: Thomas and his NHL-leading 1.84 goals-against average, .944 save percentage and five shutouts (tied with Henrik Lundqvist and Tomas Vokoun) will be awaiting Ottawa on Tuesday -- it may take another flawless effort by Elliott in order to swipe two points away from the home team in this one.