Gameday: Bruins visit Senators in pivotal showdown
The Boston Bruins will test their mental toughness as they travel to Ottawa to face the Senators after yet another third period collapse against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night. While the Bruins try to tackle their first bit of adversity this season, the Sens are a resilient bunch and will be a difficult matchup in this crucial Northeast Division matchup.
Despite their share of injuries, the fifth place Sens trail the Bruins by three points for fourth in the Eastern Conference standings. Ottawa is 4-2-4 record in its last 10 games and are an impressive 10-1-3 record at Scotiabank Place. The Sens will be seeking revenge after the Bruins stole another shootout victory last week.
After a hot start to the season, the Bruins are just 5-4-1 in their last 10. Their inability to hold on to a third period lead is really coming back to haunt them as they can’t close the door as of late. They are struggling to score against the good teams which may come back to bite them come playoff time. Expect GM Peter Chiarelli to make a push for a top-six forward and perhaps an extra defenseman as the trade deadline looms.
After the jump, lineups, storylines, linkage and tweets of interest
Gametime: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Scotiabank Place
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins (19-6-3, 41 points), Senators (16-8-6, 38 points)
Bruins’ projected lines
Milan Lucic-David Krejci/Ryan Spooner-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Jay Pandolfo-Rich Peverley-Jordan Caron
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dougie Hamilton-Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference-Aaron Johnson
Senators projected lines
Guillaume Latendresse-Zack Smith-Daniel Alfredsson
Colin Greening-Kyle Turris-Jakob Silfverberg
Erik Condra-Mika Zibanejad-Chris Neil
Matt Kassian-Jim O’Brien-Peter Regin
Sergei Gonchar-Patrick Wiercioch
Chris Phillips-Andre Benoit
Eric Gryba-Marc Methot
Bruins to watch
Let’s keep an eye on Andrew Ference tonight. He is one of the real leaders of this team, but his play on the ice has been very inconsistent this season. He has had trouble with assignments and cleaning up loose pucks in front of Tuukka Rask or Anton Khudobin that has led to game-changing goals. Some Bruins fans wonder when Ference will observe a game up on Level 9, but that won’t be the case especially with Adam McQuaid now on the shelf for a month with a shoulder strain.
It looked like Ference was getting back on track last Saturday against the Capitals after tallying a goal and displaying a good physical presence. But “Captain Planet” had a few setbacks Tuesday night in Winnipeg and hopes to recover tonight.
Despite tallying three assists against the Caps, Milan Lucic has not broken through of his early season slump. After netting 30 goals two years ago, Lucic has not found the back of the net in nearly a month (Feb. 24th vs. the Panthers) and his physical presence is non-existent. The Bruins need Lucic to get on a roll and now would be a good time for him to break out.
Senators to watch
Sergei Gonchar is a great puck-moving defenseman and his 18 assists this year demonstrate that. The Russian defenseman is red-hot in his last five games tallying a goal and eight assists.
Daniel Alfredsson is another right-winger that must be kept in check. He has been doing it for years and this year his six goals and 12 assists are impressive considering their depleted lineup. Although they’ve died down recently, rumors of Alfredsson coming to Boston were once a hot topic of discussion during the season, so one has to figure that he will be playing with an extra pep in his step in tonight’s showdown.
Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com writes about how the pressure is now on Peter Chiarelli to make a moveat the trade deadline.
Stanley Cup of Chowder grades the Bruins’ defense through the midway point of the season.
As usual, Days of Y’Orr provides an entertaining preview to tonight’s matchup.
Jared Crozier of SI.com talks about why he thinks Daniel Alfredsson can play another year in the NHL.
Tweets of interest
Haggs has a pic of David Krejci (questionable) and Ryan Spooner taking faceoffs at the Morning Skate.
David Krejci and Ryan Spooner taking face-offs during Bruins morning skate in Ottawa this morning… instagr.am/p/XIBl52LBqH/
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) March 21, 2013
And Hockey Buzz’s Ty Anderson has a question regarding March Madness
I didn’t do a bracket for March Madness because I honestly can’t name a single college basketball player. Is Greg Oden still in college?
— Ty Anderson (@_TyAnderson) March 21, 2013