After a successful start post-All-Star break, the Bruins look to get another win under their belt tonight in an road game against the Ottawa Senators, the other Canadian team the B’s have yet to beat this season.
The Senators have won the last four games between Boston and Ottawa, including the first three games of this season’s series with a 3-2 win in Canada on Nov. 3, a 2-1 shootout victory in Boston on Nov. 4 and a 3-2 win in Boston on Dec. 18.
The Bruins last defeated the Senators with a 3-2 win in Ottawa on Mar. 27 of last season and at practice on Wednesday, the team was looking forward to playing in Ottawa and getting a chance to compete against the Senators again.
“[Scotiabank Place] is a fun building to play in,” defenseman Mark Stuart said. “Whenever you’re playing a good team like that, it’s fun.
“Playing against the kind of players they have is fun to do [and] it’s going to be an exciting game.”
“Whenever you go up there, they live and die by hockey,” added fellow defenseman Dennis Wideman. “They’ve got nothing else to cheer for, so it’s pretty exciting.”
The boys know that the intense playoff race is helping motivate them right now, too.
“Like [Tuesday’s 3-1 win over the Nashville Predators], it was intense,” Stuart said. “The whole team’s really wanting to win.”
“When you’re getting into the dog days of the season, the higher games…and you’re playing against teams that are vying for playoff spots, and you’re just playing for pride or whatever already, it makes getting up and getting excited a lot more difficult,” said Wideman.
“[It’s better] when you know there’s a lot on the line.”
As fun as the atmosphere will be, the D-men know they’re in for a hard game.
“Their offense is going to be not just from their forwards, but their defense too,” Stuart said.
Wideman echoed his teammate’s sentiments.
“They’re a high-powered offense. They have a lot of guys that are gifted scorers,” he said.
But the B’s know what they have to do to chalk up another win – their first this season against the Sens.
“We’ve got to make sure we’re working hard to stay in our offensive zone. The more time we spend down there, the better off we are,” Stuart said. “We can’t just sit back and play defense against these guys.
“We’ve got to try and create some chances.”
Wideman thinks that the Bruins need to play their own game no matter the opponent.
“We’ve got to stick to our game, keep doing the same things we’re doing,” he said.
“[At this point in the season], it doesn’t matter who you play, you’ve got to win those games,” said head coach Claude Julien earlier this week. “We’ve got to go in there with the intention of beating them.”
Wideman cautioned against being too relaxed.
“We have to know that if we give them as many scoring chances as we do when we’re not playing our best, then they’re going to score.
“That’s basically the difference,” he said. “You don’t change your game plan, you just have to know that if you give them too many chances, they’re going to get a lot of goals.”
The Bruins have had some trouble this season against the Senators and Canadiens, still having yet to beat both Ottawa and Montreal, but Coach Julien doesn’t want to hear any excuses.
“We’re at that stage in the season where we can’t accept losses just because of who we play,” he said.
As always, the team is optimistic about their chances.
“We’ve played them well,” said Coach Julien. “It’s a matter of continuing to do that.”