BostonBruins.com - The Bruins will be celebrating Thanksgiving in Ottawa Thursday night when they visit the Senators for the teams' first meeting of the season.
Boston's loss to St. Louis Tuesday night, coupled with Ottawa's 4-3 win over Montreal, allowed the Senators to leapfrog the Bruins into third place in the Atlantic Division with 23 points. Boston has 22 points and holds the second Eastern Conference wild card spot, just one point ahead of New Jersey, Florida, and Philadelphia.
Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Here is what you need to know:
What to Watch For
The Bruins will be without Zdeno Chara, who suffered a lower-body injury during Tuesday night's loss to St. Louis. Bruins coach Claude Julien termed Chara as day-to-day, but also said, "I think he's pretty doubtful for these next two games."
Chara, as he has for much of the last decade, has been the Bruins' best defenseman. His strong play has helped to settle down a defensive unit that was 19th in the league in goals allowed per game last season (2.78).
The Bruins are the sixth stingiest team this season (2.32 goals allowed per game). Chara is eighth in the league in plus/minus at plus-12.
"It's up to everybody, not just defensemen, but everybody on the ice to try to pick up that slack," said John-Michael Liles, who skated alongside Chara's regular partner, Brandon Carlo, during Wednesday's practice.
"He's a big part of this team, he shuts down things so well with his size and his experience. It's a matter of everyone picking up that slack and trying to do the best we can."
This meeting marks Chris Kelly's first game against the Bruins since leaving the team over the summer to sign a one-year contract with Ottawa. Kelly, who played his first seven seasons with the Senators, was traded to Boston midway through the Bruins' 2011 Stanley Cup campaign.
He was an essential piece of the puzzle on that championship team and went on to play six seasons with Boston. During that time, he accumulated 43 goals and 58 assists in 288 games.
This season, Kelly has one goal and two assists in 19 games.
Ottawa defeated Montreal, 4-3, on Tuesday and is 2-2-1 over their last five games. The Senators are scoring 2.16 goals per game (28th) and are allowing 2.58 (15th).
Defenseman Erik Karlsson, who scored the winner against Montreal, leads the Senators in scoring with 16 points (four goals, 12 assists). Kyle Turris (8-3-11) and Mark Stone (4-7-11) are tied for second.
Goalie Craig Anderson is 9-4-1 with a 2.32 goals against average and .928 save percentage.
Wait, There's More
- David Pastrnak could return to the lineup Thursday after missing the last two games with an undisclosed injury. The Bruins' leading goal scorer practiced alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand during practice Wednesday. "Unless, there's a setback [Thursday], I would anticipate him to hopefully play," said Julien. "There could be a setback, [Wednesday was] his first full day of practice here. We'll see."
- Kevan Miller, who has yet to play this season because of a hand injury, may also return. "Kevan just got cleared, so we're going to have some decisions to make before [Thursday's] game," said Julien.
- David Backes' power-play goal in the first period of Boston's 4-2 loss to St. Louis Tuesday night was the franchise's 20,000th goal. They joined the Montreal Canadiens as the only NHL teams to achieve that feat.Video: STL@BOS: Backes goes five-hole against former team