Sometimes the NHL is so predictable. Tonight in Boston, it’s the red-hot Senators versus the slumping Bruins.
Seriously, why do they even play the games anymore?
Ottawa rolls into TD Garden on a six-game winning streak, its latest victory coming over the Toronto Maple Leafs (another team everyone knew would be good this year).
Meanwhile, the defending champs have dropped three straight and seven of their first 10.
In all seriousness, this is a big game for the Bruins. Peter Chiarelli has reportedly been working the phones looking to add offense, and you have to think a home loss to Ottawa would leave the GM more likely to pull the trigger on a trade, whether the Sens are hot or not.
Boston owned Ottawa in 2010-11, winning five of six meetings. Of course, the Sens lost a lot of games last year. So far in 2011-12, they’re 7-5-0, tied for third in the Eastern Conference. Jason Spezza has 15 points, tied for second in the NHL, and young Erik Karlsson leads all defensemen with 13 points.
A big key to Ottawa’s success has been the power play. The Sens have scored a league-high 13 goals with the man advantage.
The above in mind, expect the Bruins to play a more disciplined game than their last one in Montreal, where they took a number of bad penalties, surrendering two power-play goals in a 4-2 loss to the Habs.
While this is a big game for the entire Boston team, linemates David Krejci and Nathan Horton have some extra motivation after coach Claude Julien ripped into them yesterday.
“That line will have success when they compete at the level they know they can,” Julien said, as reported by the Boston Herald. “When they compete hard, the plays come around. There’s some good chemistry there and they know where to find each other, so that’s not the issue.
“The issue is how hard they want to compete. If they do that, they’re going to be the line we know they can be.”