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Bruins make first trip of the season to Ottawa

by John Kreiser /

BRUINS (19-9-1) at SENATORS (14-13-4)


LAST 10: Boston 7-2-1; Ottawa 4-4-2

Season Series: It's the Bruins' first visit to Scotiabank Place this season and the second meeting between the teams. Boston began its 10-game winning streak on Nov. 1 by beating the Senators 5-3 at TD Garden; the Bruins have won the last five meetings.

Big Story: The last time these teams got together, the Bruins were trying to shake off their Stanley Cup hangover after a 3-7-0 start, while the Senators had enjoyed a better-than-expected October. Six weeks later, Boston is on top of the Northeast Division and second in the Eastern Conference, while the Senators have dropped out of top eight in the East despite Tuesday's 3-2 win at Buffalo.

Team Scope:

Bruins: Boston is expected to start Tim Thomas against the Senators, though coach Claude Julien might be tempted to stay with backup Tuukka Rask after Rask's flawless performance against Los Angeles on Tuesday. Rask stopped all 41 shots he faced as Boston blanked the Kings 3-0.

"It's something every team wishes they had, that luxury with two guys. And we have that," Julien said. "Whenever called upon, Tuukka made big saves."

Senators: Ottawa had 44 shots against Buffalo's Ryan Miller on Tuesday, but it took a goal by rookie defenseman Jared Cowan to give the Senators the win. Cowan was in an unlikely place -- in front of the net -- when he banged home a pass by Erik Karlsson.

"I was going down there, thinking it was a gamble," said Cowen, Ottawa's top pick (No. 9) in the 2009 NHL Draft. "I wasn't sure I should be there, but obviously it worked out."

Who's Hot: Rask has gone 95:10 since the last time he allowed a goal. … Milan Michalek's goal on Tuesday game him the League lead with 19, including 12 on the road. He has goals in six of his last eight games.

Injury Report: Boston captain Zdeno Chara missed Tuesday's game after going down with a leg injury on Saturday, but he will make the trip to Ottawa. Forward Gregory Campbell (foot) also missed Tuesday's game, but forward Daniel Paille (concussion) returned. … Michalek left Tuesday's game early in the second period after a collision with Karlsson. He attempted to break a fall with his right arm and instead landed on his shoulder. The Senators said Wednesday morning that he has a concussion and is day-to-day but will not play against the Bruins. Defenseman Filip Kuba (upper body) is on IR, and Sergei Gonchar has missed the last two games and is day-to-day.

Stat Pack: Expect some goals to be scored in the third period. The Senators are tops in scoring in the final 20 minutes with 44 goals; the Bruins are next with 43. The problem for the Senators is that they've allowed 42 goals in the third period, more than any team except the Carolina Hurricanes.

Puck Drop: Though the Senators managed to win in Buffalo without Michalek and are hoping he won't be out long, history is against them. He missed 16 games in each of his first two seasons with the Senators and he never played a full 82-game schedule in his four seasons with San Jose.

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