SENATORS (7-5-0) at BRUINS (3-7-0)
TV: TSN, RDS (HD), NESN (HD)
First of six meetings between these Northeast Division rivals. The Bruins went 5-1 against the Senators in 2010-11, shut them out three times (two by Tim Thomas
, one by Tuukka Rask
) and allowed just 5 goals total in the series. Patrice Bergeron
, Nathan Horton
and Brad Marchand
led Boston with 3 goals apiece. Bobby Butler
had 2 goals to pace Ottawa.
It's only the beginning of November, but the Senators could open up a double-digit lead on the Bruins in the standings with a regulation win Tuesday. Such a scenario seemed unfathomable at the start of the season, and even more so after Ottawa started out by dropping five of its first six games. However, six straight wins have followed, while Boston still hasn't been able to shake out of its doldrums and sits last in the Eastern Conference.
In order to extend its winning streak to match the franchise's longest since the end of the 2009-10 season, Ottawa had to dispose of a Northeast rival and fellow Canadian team that is off to an unexpectedly fast start in Toronto. The first-place Maple Leafs got the opening goal in Sunday's battle, but the Senators reeled off scores by Colin Greening
, Chris Neil
and Kaspars Daugavins
, then held on behind Robin Lehner
's 22 saves for a 3-2 victory.
"I think our team has showed a lot of resiliency and character through the 12 games we've played," first-year coach Paul MacLean said. "We've handled adversity, we've faced adversity, we've caused our own adversity, we've kind of been up and down the hill, but it's all a learning process and we know that at some point in time it's going to come to an end, then we're going to have to get back on the horse and do it again."
"But right now our team is working consistently very hard and working consistently for 60 minutes and when you do that in this League, good things happen."
There was hope in Boston that the team had turned the corner after the offense erupted for a 6-2 win over Toronto on Oct. 20, but since then the Bruins have been outscored 10-5 in dropping three straight -- including a home-and-home to their Original Six rivals, the Canadiens. They followed up a 2-1 loss on home ice Thursday with a 4-2 defeat in Montreal on Saturday. The following day, Bergeron and fellow alternate captains Andrew Ference
and Chris Kelly
addressed the media.
"Obviously we can’t be happy with the record," Bergeron said. "We don't want to feel sorry for ourselves and we know that we put ourselves in this situation and we have to get out of it.
"It's about being desperate to find some urgency to do it. We're not happy with it, but that being said we've got to find a way to get out of it and to work through it and it's not going to happen overnight. It's a process where you have to work at it and realize that we can all be better."
Greening has 2 goals and 2 assists during a four-game points streak for the Senators. Neil has goals in consecutive games. Sergei Gonchar
has 7 assists during a five-game points streak. Erik Karlsson
has 4 assists during a three-game points streak. … Seguin has 3 goals and 2 assists in the last four games for the Bruins. Bergeron has 2 goals and 2 assists during a four-game points streak.
Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson
(head) missed Sunday's game. Goalie Alex Auld
(undisclosed), defenseman Matt Carkner
(knee) and forward Peter Regin
(shoulder) are on injured reserve. … Boston forward Benoit Pouliot
(illness) is day-to-day.
The Senators used four different goaltenders against the Bruins last season. Lehner and Craig Anderson
each lost their only starts. … Boston has scored two goals or fewer in seven of its last eight games and eight of 10 this season.
Lehner recorded his first win of the season and second career, while Daugavins picked up his first NHL goal and point against Toronto.
"I didn't have much to do," Lehner told the Ottawa Citizen. "The guys did such a good job in front of me. It always takes a little bit of practice time when you go from the AHL up to the NHL because it's different shots and different speeds, but I just tried to do my best, and I'm happy with the win."
Added Daugavins: "Obviously it helped the team a lot to score that goal. I was lucky to score it and help the team win the game. It's going to be a lifetime memory and it's good to have a win over the Maple Leafs."
Daugavins will have to take the memory back down to the minors for now, though, as he was reassigned to Binghamton on Monday.