Coming off of a five game winning streak the Senators are in for a real test on Thursday night when they take on the Boston Bruins. The Bruins currently sit tied with the Sens in the Eastern Conference as both have 26 points. Boston, however, has done it in four less games.
Needless to say, it will be a measuring stick for where the Sens are as a team.
A common theme surrounding the Sens home success over the past week has been their ability to generate the right matchups in game and on the ice. It's no secret that having the last change is a massive asset for any team or coaching staff looking to take certain players on. Sens fans need look no further than Zack Smith's line and its ability to clamp down on top units.
When asked about the benefits of certain matchups, Sens captain Daniel Alfredsson acknowledged that Ottawa was more suited to capitalize on certain opponents than others, but that the differences between opponents isn't as vast as it may seem.
"I think we do but at the same time the differences between teams are not that big. Everybody forechecks pretty much the same way. Boston is a more physical team than Montreal is, but Montreal is, especially on defence, really mobile."
The Canadiens gave the Sens fits with their skating last game and seemed to just be a step quicker all night. Alfredsson suggested that this was the result of passive play more than anything and that an attacking approach can rectify those shortcomings.
"They move the puck really well. (On Monday) they really had a good gap and we, as forwards, didn't have a lot of time and I think that's one thing we can improve with our play," said Alfredsson. "Make sure we have a third forward with our D so we can be a little bit more aggressive. I think we gave them (Montreal) a little bit too much time with the puck in the neutral zone and that's why we ended up chasing it a lot."
The Sens have historically struggled against the Bruins and, furthermore, in Boston. With that in mind, however, this year's pesky Sens have found a way to give very strong teams fits all season long. What's the key to their success in Beantown?
"They're a good team right now, they've kept the core of their team together for the last few years and have been getting better and better. With our team now, I like our chances," said Alfredsson. "I think teams know we work extremely hard and if we're in games they know that, you know, we should — maybe — beat this team and they start doubting themselves a little bit. That's one of the secrets for us."
If there's anything we've learned this season, it's never a good idea to count out the Sens.