The Boston Bruins will play the Ottawa Senators tonight at 7:08PM in the TD Garden. This will be the first meeting between the teams this season and Ottawa is one of teams the Bruins is trailing in the standings. Ottawa has three games in hand on the Bruins and could dangerously drop in the standings with a loss tonight.
Ottawa has a pretty good if not complete team. They will be a challenge to the Bruins tonight because of their size, skill and good goaltending. The have some historic Bruin killers on this team with Bobby Ryan, Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur. These players always find a way to create chaos around the Bruin net and they are spread over the top two lines, so threats can come from anywhere. The also have perhaps the best offensive defenseman in the league in Erik Karlsson. Both of their goalies have had uncommon success against the Bruins in the past in Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner. Their defense has very good size and will create problems for the Bruins trying to break out of their own end and in their own corners, they block an average of 14 shots per game.
I expect Tuukka Rask in net and expect him to bring his best tonight as he is well rested. I also expect the same defensive pairings from the previous game. My question is whether we will see Matt Fraser tonight as he's been the spare forward for nine games and needs some game time somewhere and his heavy accurate shot could help the Bruins cause. After the last game and with no pre-game skate today, I have to expect the lines will be pretty much what they were against Buffalo and that Coach Julien will be mixing and matching all night long.
Keys to the game: The Bruins need to continue to get power play goals to have a chance to win. We need to see something from Patrice Bergeron who has be very quiet during the last 5 games except in the face-off circle. I'm still wondering if he got a slight concussion and has been playing through it since the second Detroit game. The Bruins defense will be pressured more tonight than last game and needs to play tight and the forwards have to help down low. Staying out of the penalty box will be important while the defense has a chance to recover and gel with it's new parts. We need elite goaltending in the next 12-15 games to stay competitive.
Concerns: Someone key always gets hurt during an Ottawa game, last year it was Dennis Seidenberg, let's hope to stay healthy through this game. David Krejci may have gotten a bit knocked up in the last game. This is a hard team to have your third and fourth lines get points in as they can cancel each other out, so the top two lines need to score and carry the team.
Side note: the fans could be the seventh player tonight if the Bruins can get out to a lead.
Until Next Time!