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Senators-Bruins Preview @NHL
Senators-Bruins Preview

GAME: Ottawa Senators (11-2-0) at Boston Bruins (7-5-5).

TIME: Thursday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Ottawa Senators had a very good offense the first 10 games of the season. Coach Bryan Murray made it even better when he put right wing Daniel Alfredsson, center Jason Spezza and left wing Dany Heatley together.

The trio hopes to extend the Senators' current winning streak to four games when they visit the Boston Bruins.

Murray had tinkered with the idea earlier, double-shifting Alfredsson in the third period of games to jump-start the offense. After a 5-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Oct. 30, Murray decided to make the move full-time, and the results have been extraordinary.

The line combined for 10 goals and 13 assists as the Senators have outscored opponents 20-6 in three games. Alfredsson was named offensive player of the week after totaling seven goals and four assists in the victories.

"The biggest thing is to use our speed to get our forecheck going," said Alfredsson, who had two goals and an assist in Ottawa's 6-0 victory over the New York Islanders on Sunday. "When we're skating well, we're tough to defend against.

"Right now, we've got a lot of confidence and we're finding each other on the ice."

Alfredsson has eight goals and eight assists in a six-game points streak. Spezza has seven assists with the new line and 17 points (two goals, 15 assists) in a nine-game points streak. Heatley, who has three goals and three assists in the three wins, has scored a point in all 13 games this season.

The Bruins are trying to regroup from a disappointing 4-3 overtime loss at Philadelphia on Tuesday. Boston allowed two goals in the final 3:35 of regulation before rookie goaltender Hannu Toivonen was beaten by Flyers defenseman Joni Pitkanen 1:55 into overtime.

"Our team is at our best when we control territory and that's what we didn't do in the last few minutes when we could have done a better job," Bruins coach Mike Sullivan said.

Boston has gained at least a point in nine straight games (4-0-5).

Starting goaltender Andrew Raycroft and center Alexei Zhamnov may play Thursday for the Bruins.

Raycroft has been sidelined with a sore hamstring since Oct. 26, and Zhamnov has not played this season due to a shoulder injury. Right wing Glenn Murray is expected to play after missing Tuesday's game with the flu.

This is the first game between the teams since Senators right wing Martin Havlat kicked Bruins defenseman Hal Gill in the groin on Oct. 15. Since serving a five-game suspension for the incident, Havlat has scored six goals in three games.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 9): Senators - 22 points, 2nd place, 3 PB Northeast Division. Bruins - 19 points, 3rd place, 6 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Senators - Alfredsson, 14 goals and 26 points; Spezza, 20 assists; Brian McGrattan, 36 PIM. Bruins - Sergei Samsonov and Murray, 8 goals; Joe Thornton, 18 assists and 25 points; Jiri Slegr, 26 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 9): Senators - Power play: 22.3 percent (19 for 85), 4th (tied) in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.2 percent (75 for 89), 8th. Bruins - Power play: 19.8 percent (22 for 111), 10th. Penalty killing: 83.9 percent (94 for 112), 10th (tied).

GOALTENDERS: Senators - Dominik Hasek (8-2-0, 3 SO, 1.88 GAA); Ray Emery (3-0-0, 2.95). Bruins - Toivonen (4-1-3, 3.24); Raycroft (3-4-2, 3.35).

SEASON SERIES: Senators, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 15; Senators, 5-1. At Ottawa, Hasek stopped 34 shots, and five different players scored goals for the Senators.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Senators - 5-1-0 on the road; Bruins - 4-2-1 at home.

Associated Press

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