This season is beginning too look a lot like last season for the Boston Bruins.
The struggling Bruins hope to end a season-high five-game winless streak when they continue a four-game trip against the resurgent Ottawa Senators.
Boston was red-hot to start the season, losing just twice in regulation in the first 19 games (11-2-3-3). The Bruins, however, have cooled off considerably of late, winning once in their last 10 (1-5-4-1) contests.
The Bruins followed a very similar path last season, opening with a 19-4-3-1 mark before winning just two of their next 14.
General manager Mike O'Connell promised changes if his team doesn't turn things around soon.
"It's not early anymore," O'Connell said. "The players have got to figure it out. You can't look to Joe (Thornton) every game. Players have to step up or I've got to do something, I've got to change it."
Felix Potvin allowed three goals on the first five shots he faced Thursday at Washington, sending the Bruins to a 6-5 loss.
Boston, coming off three straight ties, was playing its third game in four nights.
"Fatigue is obviously a factor, but every team goes through it," Bruins coach Mike Sullivan said. "We certainly won't use that as an excuse. We've been riding our bigger players because every game has been such nip-and-tuck. It doesn't give us an opportunity to spread the minutes around."
Potvin, signed in the offseason to be Boston's No. 1 goalie, has been a huge disappointment. He has surrendered 21 goals in his last five starts, and his 3.12 goals-against average is among the worst in the league.
Ottawa continued its strong play Thursday with a 3-2 victory over visiting Tampa Bay.
"I'm definitely not used to it, going 10 games without a goal," said Hossa, who set a team record with 45 goals last season. "It's definitely nice."
Thursday's victory was Ottawa's first this season in a one-goal game. It had lost its first 10 one-goal games of 2003-04.
The Senators are 9-0-1 in their last 10 home games against the Bruins, with four of those wins coming in overtime. Boston hasn't won at the Corel Centre since March 24, 1999.