BostonBruins.com – The trade deadline has passed and with Boston only making minor deals involving their AHL franchise, the Providence Bruins, the B’s are focusing on tonight’s game where they’ll face a brand new Ottawa Senators team.
|Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask stops a shot from Ottawa Senators' Milan Michalek, left, as Bruins' Adam McQuaid defends, second from left, and Senators' Jason Spezza looks on during second period NHL hockey action at the Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ontario, on Friday, Feb. 18, 2011. The Bruins defeated the Senators 4-2. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick) |
The Bruins (36-19-7) finish up their six-game road swing tonight against the Senators (21-32-9). Boston is 5-0 in the first five contests of the trip, including defeating the Senators 4-2 on Feb. 18 in Game 2 of the Bruins’ longest road trip of the year.
The road hasn’t hurt the Bruins, it’s done just the opposite. Boston has the second best road record in the league at 21-7-4, accumulating 46 of their 79 points away from TD Garden.
The B’s added to the win column of that record over the past 12 days, including defeats of the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks in the Western Canada portion of the trip.
After a 3-2 win over Edmonton on Sunday night, Boston has traveled back east to face their division foes.
The Bruins have a 30-12-5 record against the Eastern Conference with an 8-6-3 mark against the Northeast Division. The Senators enter tonight with a 16-23-5 record against the east and a similarly shaped 6-11-2 mark against the Northeast Division.
The Bruins are 3-1 against the Senators this season, outscoring the Senators 14-2 in those contests. In addition, Boston is currently on a five-game winning streak in Scotiabank Place, and have won nine of the last 12 meetings in Ottawa.
Taking a look at the standings
|Boston Bruins left wing Mark Recchi (28) carries the puck against Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mike Lundin (39) during the third period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010, in Tampa, Fla. Boston won 4-3. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) |
Tonight could prove to be a pivotal match-up for the Bruins before they head home for a tough stretch of games in TD Garden.
The B’s will take on Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday in a contest that could put the Bruins in a tie, or sole possession, of second place in the Eastern Conference.
With a win tonight, Boston will put the pressure on Tampa Bay when they take on the New Jersey Devils in the Prudential Center on Wednesday. As of today, New Jersey has the best record in the league in the last ten games with a 9-1-0 mark.
If Boston wins tonight and Tampa falls to the Devils, Thursday’s game will decide second place in the Eastern Conference. If the scenario holds true the Bruins and Lightning will have identical 37-19-7 records heading into Thursday.
If both teams win, the Bruins could pull into a tie with Tampa Bay, as both teams will have played 63 games after Thursday’s tilt.
Although second place would be nice, the Bruins also need to hold back the Montreal Canadiens to maintain the division lead. As of this morning the Canadiens, who have been struggling of late with a 3-5-2 record in their last ten, sit six points behind Boston.
The Bruins have a game in hand over Montreal, but the teams face each other two more times before the month is over in games that could give a four point cushion to either team.
While Boston faces two of the top five teams in the league in Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh, in addition to Ottawa, Montreal will face two teams below five hundred in Atlanta and Florida before taking on Tampa Bay just three days before the two Northeast Division rivals meet north of the border.
Brand New Senators
As the month of February, and yesterday’s trade deadline, rolled on, the Senators rolled away a large portion of their team, stockpiling draft picks in return for the players they shipped out.
The Senators squad the Bruins will face tonight is much different than the one they faced just over a week ago on Feb. 18.
Before yesterday’s 3 p.m. deadline, Ottawa General Manager Brian Murray had traded away Mike Fisher, Jarkko Ruutu, Alex Kovalev, Chris Campoli and Chris Kelly
, who was traded to Boston for the B’s second-round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
In addition, Ottawa made a goalie swap with Colorado, sending Brian Elliot to the Avalanche for Craig Anderson. They also claimed goaltender Curtis McElhinney off waivers from Tampa Bay.
In exchange for their multiple moves, the Senators will have six of the first 62 selections in this year’s draft. They also received center Ryan Potulny from the Chicago Blackhawks for Campoli.
While the Senators dispatched most of their team, they did sign defenseman Chris Phillips to a three-year extension yesterday morning.
In addition to missing former Senators Campoli, Chris Neil, Kovalev and Andre Benoit, the Senators have six new names on their roster since the last time they faced Boston on Feb. 18.
The Senators have seven skaters on their current roster that have played in less than 20 games this year. The Bruins have none.
Player Profile: Chris Kelly
Tonight, Chris Kelly
will play his second game in Scotiabank Place since becoming a Boston Bruin. He has yet to play in TD Garden.
The 30-year-old Kelly was drafted by Ottawa (third round, 94th overall) in 1999 and prior to being traded to Boston had played his entire career for the Senators.
Kelly’s first game as a Bruin took place on his former home ice of Scotiabank Place.
Kelly, a 6’ 0” 198-pound defenseman, has a career scoring line of 75-102-177. He recorded his first point as a Bruin with an assist in the Bruins 3-2 win over Edmonton on Sunday night.
Kelly has fit into the Bruins system on the third line with Michael Ryder and fellow newcomer Rich Peverley
. Both being excellent faceoff men, Peverley and Kelly have been taking turns on the draw.
Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara
played with Kelly during his time in Ottawa and prior to Kelly’s arrival lauded the forward’s responsibility on both ends of the ice.
“It’s a great addition. He is a hard working player, he’s a smart player,” Chara said. “He always plays his role well and for sure is going to give us more depth in the middle and the experience he has.”
Playing on a struggling Ottawa team, Kelly came to the Bruins with a minus-12 rating. In his four games with Boston, all Bruins victories, he has improved his plus/minus to a minus-10.