OTTAWA - The Senators' seven-game road trip will finish where it began — but hopefully with a different result.
Ottawa, forced out of Scotiabank Place for the past two weeks due to the IIHF women’s world hockey championships and various other events, started the road trip with a 3-2 loss in Boston and would love nothing more than to be able to finish it with a win over its division rival, the Bruins.
The Senators spent 12 days on the road before returning to Ottawa on Sunday for one day off, allowing players to grab a clean change of clothes before heading back out again.
Ottawa lost the first four games of its road swing before rebounding with wins against Philadelphia and New Jersey. The slide left the Sens sitting precariously in sixth in the Eastern Conference with the New York Islanders and New York Rangers just one and two points back, respectively.
“We’re hanging in there and those two wins were key for us and we still have a big one tomorrow,” said Ottawa defenceman Marc Methot. “I’m paying attention (to the standings), it’s hard not to. You’re always curious to see what position you are.”
It won't get any easier in Boston where the Senators have gone 0-2-2 this season.
“It’s no secret we’ve been struggling (in Boston),” said Methot. “The games have been pretty tight, but we just can’t seem to close them out. We’ve got to come out and stick to the basics and stick to our game plan.”
Turnovers and penalty trouble were a big problem for the Senators during the losing streak and now they need to keep things simple against a Bruins team that will be just as anxious for a win after losing their last two games.
“We haven’t found a way to play a good enough 60 or 65 minutes to beat them,” said Senators head coach Paul MacLean. “We’ve always said the road to anywhere you want to go in the playoffs has to go through Boston at some point… You have to beat them to go anywhere and (Monday) is our next opportunity.”
Craig Anderson, coming off a 2-0 win against New Jersey, will get the start Monday. Anderson has yet to face Boston this season, but has a 3-8-0 career record against the Bruins.
Anderson missed 18 games due to a high ankle sprain, but says he’s felt good since he returned and just wants to work on improving the smaller aspects of his game.
"Right now it’s doing the little things right and doing them longer than the other team,” said Anderson. “For the most part we give ourselves an opportunity to win every game and that’s just what we can continue to do. We just have to worry about what we can control.”
The Senators will return home to face the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night in the first of a five-game homestand.
Notes: Daniel Alfredsson and Milan Michalek were both given maintenance days, but are expected to play Monday. … Jared Cowen continues to practice with the team, but there is still no timetable on his return. … Erik Karlsson, who remains sidelined by a torn Achilles, took advantage of some down time and went to watch some of the Masters tournament in Augusta, Ga. He continues to skate on his own, but is not expected to start practising with the team any time soon. ... MacLean also said that Jason Spezza hasn’t skated, but remains in good spirits.