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Sens aim for streak breaker

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Shean Donovan and the Senators hope tonight is the night they finally break through against Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images).

Check out the game notes for tonight's Ottawa-Boston matchup.

It is anything but an intimidating number to the Ottawa Senators.

Rather, they're enthused about the prospect of trying one more time to end the run of success Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas has enjoyed against them over the last two seasons. He'll be aiming for his 11th straight victory against the Senators when the teams face off tonight at Scotiabank Place (7:30 p.m., Rogers Sportsnet, Team 1200).

"Timmy Thomas has played well against us here, but that’s a good challenge," forward Shean Donovan said after a number of Senators took an optional pre-game skate earlier today. "I think we’re excited. We just heard it was 10 in a row, so that’s good – we’ll talk about it in here and come out and play hard, throw a lot of pucks at him and try to change things."

Two weeks ago, Thomas used his unorthodox style to turn aside all 29 shots he faced in a 2-0 Bruins victory at Scotiabank Place. That pushed Boston's record against the Senators this season to a perfect 3-0-0, including a pair of 4-3 shootout victories.

However, the Senators – who are 3-1-0 on the homestand that concludes tonight – believe they can continue some of the offensive success they've enjoyed in recent games. They scored a season-high seven goals in Sunday's victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.

"(Thomas) has had our number and we’ve got to find a way to solve him," said Senators centre Mike Fisher. "Lately, a lot of our goals ... we’re just getting pucks to the net and there’s guys in front of the net when we’re scoring. He’s no different and he’s played really well against us. We’ve got to find a way tonight and do what we can."

"Timmy Thomas has played well against us here, but that’s a good challenge. I think we’re excited. We just heard it was 10 in a row, so that’s good – we’ll talk about it in here and come out and play hard, throw a lot of pucks at him and try to change things." - Shean Donovan
Added forward Ryan Shannon: "He doesn’t play the typical goalie-school style. He’s a little unpredictable. But if we keep playing the way we are in the offensive zone and cycle pucks, it’s going to be a tough night (for him)."

The Senators catch a bit of a break tonight, with Bruins centre Patrice Bergeron – a faceoff standout – on the shelf after taking a puck off his hand during Boston's 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers on Monday night.

"He takes a lot of important faceoffs, whether it's (on the) penalty kill, power play or 5-on-5,," said Senators head coach Cory Clouston. "He is a smart, very intelligent player. There is a reason why he was selected for Team Canada. But they're still a good team. One guy doesn't make their team, that's for sure."

With a win tonight, the Senators (22-16-4) can leapfrog over the Bruins (21-13-7) into fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings.

"We know they have a game in hand, but they're only one point up," said Donovan. "This is one game where you look at the standings and you know it's a big game. We're excited."

Around the boards

Clouston will send Brian Elliott into the Ottawa net for his 20th start of the season. Pascal Leclaire had made the previous six starts, but was pulled during the second period of Sunday's win over the Flyers after allowing three goals on nine shots. "It’s been six straight starts for Pascal and we need to keep both goaltenders sharp," said Clouston. "I think Brian did a pretty good job coming in the last game." ... Defenceman Alex Picard also returns to the lineup, with Chris Campoli being made a healthy scratch ... Fewer than 750 tickets remain for the Bruins' final visit of the season to Scotiabank Place.


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