BOSTON -- Although they're riding a six-game winning streak into tonight's game against the Bruins at TD Garden, the Ottawa Senators know this might be their stiffest test yet.
Of their six victories, only one came against a team that qualified for the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs. And the 7-5-0 Senators this season are just 1-3-0 against last spring's playoff participants.
So Ottawa isn't looking at tonight's game as if it's against a 3-7-0 also-ran.
"It's a benchmark game for sure," said center Jason Spezza after his team's morning skate. "They're, we think, one of the best teams in the East. I don't care what the standings say, they're Stanley Cup champions and have some great players and three deep lines and six real good defensemen and one of the best goalies in the League. So this isn't a team you take lightly. This is an arena that's hard to come in to play in. They clog things up and make it hard on you. And for us we just have to make sure we're on the top of our game tonight or else, they'll make it a long night for you."
Coach Paul MacLean is confident his team is aware of the challenge ahead.
"We shouldn't have to remind them of that because we are playing the Stanley Cup champs and as soon as you walk into the building or you look at anything, the press notes and the banners, it all says Stanley Cup champions, and that's very well deserved," MacLean said. "No matter what their record is, they're still the Stanley Cup champions and we know we're going to get a good game. We know that we have to be at our best to have an opportunity to win this game."
With Kaspars Daugavins re-assigned to the Binghamton (AHL) farm club after Sunday's win at Toronto, Erik Condra skated in his place on the third line during the morning skate. Zenon Konopka should dress and skate on the fourth line after he was a healthy scratch against the Maple Leafs.
Here's the Senators' projected lineup:
Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Colin Greening
Nick Foligno - Stephane Da Costa - Bobby Butler
Erik Condra - Zack Smith - Chris Neil
Zenon Konopka - Jesse Winchester - Nikita Filatov
Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson
Jared Cowen - Sergei Gonchar
Chris Phillips - David Rundblad
Craig Anderson was given the night off in Toronto, so he figures to be back between the pipes. He had played in the prior six Senators games.