The Ottawa Senators will roll into the TD Garden on Tuesday evening to meet the Boston Bruins for the third time in 2016-17. In the previous two meetings, the Senators came away victorious by final scores of 3-1 and 4-2. Both clubs are battling for a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, making this a vital matchup for each side.
The Senators are sitting second in the Atlantic Division with 86 points, and they appear to be on their way to the postseason. While they are in a good position, they still have to accumulate wins over their final 11 contests to solidify their position in the standings. They are coming off a pair of losses to the Montreal Canadiens and will be hungry for a win.
On the other side, they Bruins are in a far less comfortable position than their Atlantic Division rival. The Bruins are holding down the third spot in the Atlantic, but only hold a one-point advantage over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Along with the Maple Leafs, the Islanders and Lightning are not far behind as they look to sneak their way into the playoff picture. With 10 games left and desperation setting in, look for this tilt to present a playoff-like atmosphere.
Ottawa Senators at Boston Bruins
TD Garden-7:00 p.m. E.S.T
Broadcast Channels-NESN, RDS2, TSN5
2016-17 Season Series: Senators Leads 2-0
Ottawa Senators-39-24-8- 86 Points
Road Record: 20-13-0
Hot Players: Erik Karlsson, Mike Hoffman, Derick Brassard
Key Injuries: Chris Neil, Mark Stone
Zack Smith-Kyle Turris-Bobby Ryan
Mike Hoffman-Jean-Gabriel Pageau-Tom Pyatt
Ryan Dzingel-Derick Brassard-Alexandre Burrows
Viktor Stalberg-Chris Kelly-Tommy Wingels
Marc Methot-Erik Karlsson
Dion Phaneuf-Cody Ceci
Mark Borowiecki-Chris Wideman
Boston Bruins-38-28-6- 82 Points
Home Record: 19-14-0
Hot Players: Brad Marchand, David Backes, Patrice Bergeron
Key Injuries: Tim Schaller
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Backes
Matt Beleskey-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
Frank Vatrano-Ryan Spooner-Drew Stafford
Dominic Moore-Riley Nash-Noel Acciari
Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Colin Miller-Kevan Miller
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap] The Bruins loss on Monday to the Toronto Maple Leafs marks the first time the B’s have lost two games in a row under head coach Bruce Cassidy. After Cassidy’s promotion to head coach, the Bruins fired off seven wins in their first eight games, but have cooled off down the stretch, going 5-4 in their last nine contests. They will look to get back on track against their division rival.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap] Veteran goaltender Craig Anderson will be between the pipes for the Senators this evening. Anderson has put together a terrific season so far with a record of 21-9-2 to go along with a 2.30 GAA, and a .928 save percentage. While he has been impressive this season, his career numbers against the Bruins are rather underwhelming. In 21 career starts against the black and gold, Anderson has recorded 10 wins and posted a .905 save percentage with a 3.12 GAA. He will be looking to improve on his past performances and lead the Senators to an important victory at the TD Garden.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap] Senator’s captain Erik Karlsson has once again been one of the most impressive players in the NHL this season. In 71 games, the defenseman has registered 14 goals and 65 points, including four points in his past five outings. Perhaps his most impressive statistic on the season is his 26:49 average ice time per game as not many players can log heavy minutes every night. As always, Karlsson will be a player the Bruins will have to keep an eye on all game.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap] Bruins forward Brad Marchand has been one of the hottest players in the NHL over the past month. In his past 12 games, Marchand has registered 12 goals and 21 points. His recent burst of offense has helped propel him to second in the NHL in both points and goals this season. He enters this contest with 37 goals and 80 points, and he will be looking to add to his impressive season against the Senators.
Senators at Bruins, 7 ET
Bruins: Coming off back-to-back losses for 1st time under Bruce Cassidy..Cassidy is 12-5 since becoming head coach
— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) March 21, 2017
The Bruins have had a tough time against the Senators this season, losing both of their previous meetings. In their most recent meeting two weeks ago, the Bruins struggled to break the Senators signature neutral zone trap and could not generate any offense. The key for the Bruins in this game will be to break the trap by employing a dump and chase strategy with an aggressive forecheck. If the Bruins can break the Senator’s trap and play their more open style, they should have an advantage most of the game.
For the Senators, they key to the game will be jumping on the Bruins early and opening up a lead in the first period. The Bruins played a hard game on Monday while the Senators were resting in a Boston hotel, so the Senators should have more energy. Furthermore, if the Senators can create numerous turnovers with their trap, they should have a good chance of securing another victory over the Bruins.
Anthony Pagliarulo is a Boston Bruins contributor for The Hockey Writers. He is a Massachusetts native and a Worcester State University alumni. You can follow Anthony on Twitter @APags87.