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Senators try to end slide against Bruins

by John Kreiser
BRUINS (32-19-7) at SENATORS (18-30-9)


Last 10 -- Boston 5-5-0; Ottawa 1-7-2

Season series -- It's the fourth of six meetings between the Northeast Division rivals -- and each of the first three ended in a shutout. Boston hasn't been to Scotiabank Place since a 4-0 victory on Oct. 30.

Big story -- With a 6-3 win on Long Island Thursday night in the books, the Bruins are looking to go 2-for-2 as they start a key six-game road trip. They're facing an Ottawa team that's been in a free fall -- though the Senators are 1-0-1 in their last two games with a win at Edmonton and a home shootout loss to the Islanders, the Senators have won just twice in their last 20 games and are shedding players to prepare for a rebuild.

Team Scope:

Bruins -- The Bruins came to Long Island with the bitter taste of a 4-3 home loss to Toronto two nights earlier still lingering. They left the Nassau Coliseum with a comparatively easy three-goal win in a game that saw them grab a 4-0 lead less than 21 minutes into the game. Tuukka Rask made 30 of his 34 saves in the final 40 minutes to keep the Isles at bay.

"I really liked our first period. I thought we were right on top of our game," coach Claude Julien said. "I think offensively we did some really good things. But defensively, again, I think we had some lapses and those are the things we are trying to correct here.

"This is a step in the right direction and hopefully we can keep working on that and get better."

Senators -- GM Bryan Murray continues to shed age as he tries to revamp a team that's been a tremendous disappointment this season -- he's made two deals since the shootout loss to the Islanders on Tuesday. Forward Jarkko Ruutu was sent to Anaheim for a sixth-round pick on Thursday, two days after the Senators dealt center Chris Kelly to the Bruins for a second-rounder.

"It's difficult," Murray said on a conference call after the Ruutu deal. "Every time you trade a veteran guys you had expectations (from), it's somewhat hard to do. I'm sure it's a little draining on the rest of the players. In turn, because of the way we've played and because of the standings (the Senators are 15th in the Eastern Conference), some things are the right things to do.

Kelly, who didn't play Thursday due to visa issues, figures to be in the lineup against his former team.

Who's hot -- Boston's David Krejci had a goal and an assist on Long Island, giving him six points in five games. … Ottawa's Alex Kovalev has 3 points in his last two games.

Injury report -- Boston center Marc Savard (concussion) is out for the season. … Ottawa will be without defensemen Sergei Gonchar and Chris Campoli, both of whom left Tuesday's game with lower-body injuries. Goalie Pascal Leclaire hasn't played since Dec. 16 due to a lower-body injury, though coach Cory Clouston hopes he'll be back before the end of the season. Captain Daniel Alfredsson is out with a back injury.

Stat pack -- Mark Recchi just keeping rolling along. The 43-year-old passed another milestone when he scored in the first period against the Islanders. It was his 574th career goal, moving him past Hall of Famer Mike Bossy into 19th place on the all-time list.

Puck drop -- The injuries on the blue in Ottawa are good news for Andre Benoit, a 27-year-old defenseman who figures to make his NHL debut against the Bruins after spending time in the ECHL, AHL and two stints overseas. He led all defensemen at AHL Binghamton with 6 goals and 37 points before getting the call.

"I've been waiting a long time for this," Benoit told reporters after his first full practice with the big club on Thursday. "Now it's here and I've got to take advantage of it. I'm excited and we'll be ready to go tomorrow."

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