– Tonight’s match-up between the Bruins and Senators is the fourth of five between the team’s this season. The Bruins have won the first three (one in a shootout and one in overtime), but the Sens, who have battled injuries to key players all season long, remain just four points behind the B’s in the Northeast Division.
As a result, the Black & Gold still expect they will have to equal Ottawa’s effort.
“It's going to be another tough match-up against Ottawa,” said Bruins forward Daniel Paille. “All year it's been like this, so it doesn't matter who they have in the lineup, they always give a good fight. For us, we know what to expect from them, they're going to come out skating as hard as they can. For us, we just have to match their effort.”
All season long, B’s Head Coach Claude Julien has been impressed with the Senators ability to stay in the race, even with the likes of Erik Karlsson, Jason Spezza, and Craig Anderson out with injuries.
“No,” said Julien, when asked if he has been surprised by the Senators success. “Because they’ve established, I guess, a work ethic they bring every game and they believe in it.
“It gives them a chance to win on most nights. If I was them, I wouldn’t change it.”
“I think they’re a good group, a very good team, lots of skill, and they play their system,” added Tyler Seguin, following today’s morning skate. “They buy into it, and they take a lot of pride in it. I think the whole team’s buying into one system, so you get good things out of there, that organization.”
We Meet Again: The Bruins and Senators are facing off tonight for the 116th time in history. The Bruins hold a 68-32-8-7 record, with a 367-283 scoring edge. In Boston, the Bruins lead the all-time series 35-17-5-1. The Black & Gold have won 12 of the last 13 against the Sens.
Faster Starts: The Bruins have struggled early in games of late: they have gone seven straight games without a first period goal. That is the longest such stretch since a seven-game period from March 4-15, 2008, in which they did not score in the second period.
B’s captain Zdeno Chara echoed a common sentiment in the Bruins dressing room recently: getting off to a good start is vital.
“I think realizing that we need to get a better start maybe,” said Chara on what the Bruins need to focus on tonight. “I think with a team like Ottawa, a good team, they’re very good defensively, so I think if we can get the first one or first couple and make them play offense I think it should be in our favor.”
Two or Fewer: The Bruins are 21-1-0 in games that they have held their opponents to two or fewer goals.
Time Management: Chara also talked after the morning skate about the mental and physical grind of the shortened schedule. But, as tough as it may get, Chara says the Bruins have no choice but to show up to the rink and play.
“A little bit of both,” said the captain, when asked whether the physical or mental part of dealing with the schedule was worse. “But that’s our job, to get ourselves ready for each game, and there are more games in a short period of time.
“We’re professionals, and if there is that many games you can’t really say, ‘Okay, I don’t feel like playing tonight.’ You’ve just got to get yourself ready and do the best you can, and sometimes it is challenging because you are mentally ready, but physically it’s very tiring.
“But that’s why you have to really play smart instead of trying to do too much or things that cost you even more energy and you get tired.”