Tomorrow night’s opponent, the Ottawa Senators, have a lot to play for, so the Bruins better snap out of whatever is ailing them -- and fast.
The AP reported on Saturday:The Ottawa Senators are making a strong statement with the postseason looming.
Dany Heatley had two goals and an assist to lead the Senators past the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-2 on Saturday night.
Heatley has 45 goals this season. Joseph Corvo, Daniel Alfredsson, Christoph Schubert, Patrick Eaves and Dean McAmmond also scored for Ottawa, which has earned at least a point in 20 of 21 games (15-1-5) since Feb. 8.
"It’s a real compliment to the guys, no question," Ottawa coach Bryan Murray said. "The work ethic, as you saw tonight, has really been good. It’s amazing. That doesn’t happen a lot where you get points in every game pretty much."
By contrast, our Bruins have had a March meltdown and are working hard to end the season on a positive note.
Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe
spoke to Bruins captain Zdeno Chara
after the game on Sunday and reported that Chara said "It’s a tough . . . tough . . . part of the season. And the only way we get through it is to work as a team . . . battle through it as a team . . . win and lose as a team . . . but to answer your question, yes, it’s [frustrating]."
The Bruins could go a long way to mitigating that frustration in their two remaining games against Ottawa, who are chasing Buffalo for the top spot in the Northeast Division and the Eastern Conference.
It’s a daunting task, however, as the Senators are a great squad, top to bottom.
Dany Heatley leads the Sens in goals and points (96), while Daniel Alfredsson owns a 27-54-81 line, to pace the team in assists. Jason Spezza rounds out Ottawa’s top three with a 30-49-79 docket.
Meanwhile, two terrific keepers -- Fightin’ Ray Emery and Martin Gerber, man the goal crease. Emery is clearly one of the Eastern Conference’s best, with a 31-14-5 record, a 2.48 GAA and a .919 SV%. Gerber, one of the league’s top backups, is 14-9-3 with a 2.81, and .905.
Ottawa is 11th on the power play, scoring at an 18.3% clip, while they kill penalties at 84.6% efficiency, which is good for sixth in the league.
Adding to issues that the Bruins must overcome in the Corel Centre is the B’s own lack of confidence.
Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald
reports:Bruins coach Dave Lewis believes his team is fighting it mentally now as much as physically.
“I think they’re discouraged to the point of frustration because of the battle that we didn’t win,” Lewis said. “You get discouraged. You think you gave it your best and your best wasn’t good enough, and we have to be better to get into the playoffs. And we’re not good enough right now.”
That may be so, but the Bruins have proven that they can play with the Senators. The B’s and the Sens have split this season’s series thus far with each team winning three games.
The Bruins won the first three games with a 2-1 decision in Boston on Oct. 28, a 4-3 win in Boston on Nov. 11 and 7-2 victory in Ottawa on Dec. 19. The Senators have won the last three games with a 5-2 win in Ottawa on Jan. 9, a 3-0 victory in Boston on Jan. 20 and a 3-1 win in Ottawa on Jan. 27.
If Tim Thomas
goes in net tomorrow, he takes a 5-3-0 career record against Ottawa into the contest, with a GAA of 2.32 and a stellar .935 save percentage.