Boston Bruins on Paper: Erratic Ottawa Senators' edition
The Ottawa Senators are an enigma.
standing on the outside looking in for the final playoff spot in the
Eastern Conference, the Senators prepare to enter the New Year with
momentum that has escaped them thus far in the 2013-14, failing to win
back to back games in a span of nearly two months.
Defenseman Erik Karlsson leads Ottawa in scoring
Well, here's their chance.
Senators visit TD Garden in Boston on Friday night, four days removed
from dragging the Pittsburgh Penguins behind the proverbial woodshed and
giving them a thorough bad boy Christmas beating that they won't soon
forget, with the opportunity to do the same to the Bruins - a team that
they treated similarly back in mid-November.
was at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, not at the Garden where the
Bruins are riding a home winning streak of seven consecutive games and
lead the Atlantic Division of the NHL's Eastern Conference - even so,
the Senators are aware that it gets nothing but tougher from here, a
stretch of 11 of 14 games on the road await them after the turn of the
calender to 2014...
...so if Ottawa plans on making the
post-season, they understand that Friday and Saturday's home and home
series against the Bruins and subsequent winnable home contests against
Washington and Winnipeg are essential to momentum and confidence heading
into the protracted road stretch.
"We haven't done it
on a consistent game-to-game basis." said Senators goalie Craig Anderson
after Monday's win over the Pens. "We've had a good
game, bad game type of thing. The great teams find a way to do it well
every night. It's one of those things where we can feel good about
ourselves right now but we can't rely on this one game and this one game
and this one performance."
"We have to repeat and repeat and do it on a nightly basis to become confident and feel good about your game." he continued.
Bruins are not immune to mailing one in every now and then either, but
they have been far more consistent than the Senators and hold a 15 point
bulge over them as a result - and given the fact that Boston is a
golden 12-0-2 at TD Garden since late October, trying to take one in
Beantown is an uphill struggle...
...so much of a
struggle that coach Paul Maclean needs his hottest hands on the ice, and
that may mean that Anderson could sit on Friday night while backup
netminder Robin Lehner starts between the pipes, Lehner with better
career numbers against the Bruins.
As for Boston, it's
just a matter of continuing to play well, and they get a big boost in
that direction as Daniel Paille returns from a concussion to solidify
the Merlot line, though the Bruins' energy line will still be without
left wing Shawn Thornton, who continues to serve a 15 game suspension.
The club sent Nick Johnson packing back to AHL Providence to make room
for Paille while Jordan Caron continues to fill in for Thornton.
David Warsofsky also was sent back to Providence, raising speculation
that Dougie Hamilton - who has resumed skating in recovery from a
lower-body injury - soon will be able to return to the lineup, but
probably not on Friday night.
In a surprise move, the
Bruins have recalled goalie Niklas Svedberg from Providence, probably
just to let him get his feet wet in one of the ends of the home-and-home
series - possibly starting one of the two matches...
Bruins Projected Lines:
1st: Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Jarome Iginla
2nd: Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Reilly Smith
3rd: Carl Soderberg - Ryan Spooner - Matt Fraser
4th: Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Jordan Caron
1st: Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
2nd: Dennis Seidenberg - Torey Krug
3rd: Adam McQuaid - Matt Bartkowski
Senators Projected Lines:
1st: Corey Conacher - Jason Spezza - Milan Michalek
2nd: Clarke MacArthur - Kyle Turris - Bobby Ryan
3rd: Colin Greening - Zack Smith - Chris Neil
4th: Mika Zibanejad - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Erik Condra
1st: Jared Cowen - Erik Karlsson
2nd: Cody Ceci - Chris Phillips
3rd: Mark Methot - Eric Gryba