There's no such thing as a must-win this time of the year, and of course you want to win every game you play, but the Bruins are truly desperate for points coming into this one. They've dropped four out of their last five games, including Thursday's 3-2 home loss to the Blackhawks in Zdeno Chara's return. While the effort's definitely there, and Thursday's effort might well have beat better teams, the Bruins offense continues to sputter against quality opponents.
After this game, it's a trip west (well, okay, most Bruins trips are west in some way, shape, or form) to play three games in a four-day span; Nashville on Tuesday, Minnesota on Wednesday, and Winnipeg on Friday. All three teams have better point/game ratios than the Bruins this season, with Nashville, somewhat surprisingly, only 1 point off Chicago's pace. So if anyone was expecting things to get easier after that West Coast swing, well...this is it for awhile. The Bruins have games against Buffalo and injury-ravaged Columbus later this month, but the first week-and-a-half of Z's return is a docket of good teams.
Opposing the B's today are the hapless Ottawa Senators. The Sens just fired Paul MacLean earlier this week. While MacLean had shown that his system had worn out its welcome in Canada's capital, the Senators issues run much deeper than just coaching Their offense has dried up this year, their defense is as bad as ever, and their goaltending isn't bailing them out. The Sens stand at 11-12-5, with only 9 non-SO wins on the year.
This is a matinee game before a road trip, and said trip includes a back-to-back and three games in four days, so your guess is as good as mine on the goaltending situation--Tuukka Rask might get another start and then sit Tuesday or Wednesday, or Niklas Svedberg might get the call against a lesser opponent. Whoever's between the pipes, this is a big game on home ice--Florida just passed the Bruins for the 8-spot in the Eastern Conference. Yep, it's been that rough of late.
Go Bruins! #ScoreAGoal, win the game!
UPDATE: Robin Lehner gets the start for Ottawa. Will confirm the rest of the line-ups when I make it off the subway intact.
UPDATE 2: David Krejci is still out, so I'm guessing the lines are going to be somewhat like yesterday's practice (this is a best guess, will confirm):
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Reilly Smith
Matt Fraser - Carl Soderberg - Loui Eriksson
Milan Lucic - Chris Kelly - Craig Cunningham
Daniel Paille - Greg Campbell - Seth Griffith
Zdeno Chara - Dougie Hamilton
Dennis Seidenberg - Zach Trotman
Torey Krug - Kevan Miller
Tuukka Rask (starting)
The Ottawa Senators, best guess from our evil rival blog, Silver Seven Sens:
Clarke MacArthur - Kyle Turris - Mark Stone
Mike Hoffman - Mika Zibanejad - Bobby Ryan
David Legwand - Zach Smith - Colin Greening
Erik Condra - Curtis Lazar - Alex Chiasson
Jared Cowen (lol) - Erik Karlsson (former Norris winner)
Patrick Wiercoch - Cody Ceci
Mark Borowiecki - Eric Gryba