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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, January 5th (All times eastern)

Boston Bruins (21-13-7) at Ottawa Senators (22-16-4), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Ottawa Senators will try for their first three-game winning streak in six weeks when they welcome the rival Boston Bruins for tonight's Northeast Division clash at Scotiabank Place.

The Senators will try to close out a five-game homestand on a positive note tonight as they attempt to win three straight for the first time since a four- game winning streak from November 17-23. Ottawa is 3-1-0 on the homestand after winning its last two tests against the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers.

Ottawa earned a shootout decision over the Isles on New Year's Eve and then notched a 7-4 decision against the Flyers on Sunday afternoon. Alex Kovalev's first career four-goal game, part of a five-point effort, helped Ottawa post the win over Philadelphia.

Chris Kelly netted a pair with an assist for the Senators, who blew an early three-goal lead but won for the fourth time in their last five. Jarkko Ruutu added a goal and one helper.

"We're trying to keep the other teams surprised, playing as well as we have without some key guys," Kovalev said. "We try to play as well as we can, and it's great to see other guys stepping up. Two points makes me happier than the goals."

Kovalev's four-goal night gives him 11 markers in a disappointing first season with the Senators. He had 26 tallies in 2008-09 for Montreal and had 35 goals the previous year for the Canadiens.

Brian Elliott got the win in relief, stopping 10-of-11 shots in just over 34 minutes of work. Starter Pascal Leclaire was pulled after yielding three goals on 10 shots.

The Sens have done most of their damage at home this year with a 16-6-3 record at Scotiabank Place. Ottawa, which will play six of its next seven games on the road following tonight's test, is just 6-10-1 as the visiting team this year.

The Bruins beat Philadelphia in OT on New Year's Day for their second straight win, but the club faltered in its next test, dropping a close regulation decision against the New York Rangers. Christopher Higgins' goal with 1:29 to play led the host Rangers to the 3-2 win at Madison Square Garden.

Blake Wheeler and Matt Hunwick each had a goal and an assist for the Bruins, who had won five of six coming into the contest. Tuukka Rask made 32 stops in the loss.

Boston was trailing 2-0 heading into the third period, but tied the contest with a pair of quick goals late in regulation. However, Higgins skated down the left side and before he went behind the net he snuck the puck past the right pad of Rask, who was starting to sneak over to the other side.

"I thought I had the post covered and then it just went underneath my skate," said Rask. "We made it game after playing bad in the first two periods, but then that happens."

The Bruins lost more than the game as forward Patrice Bergeron suffered a hand injury that will require him to return to Boston rather than play in tonight's game. Bergeron, who was named to Team Canada last week, has 11 goals and 31 points in 41 games for Boston this year.

Without Bergeron, the Bruins will try to improve upon their 8-7-4 record as the guest this season. Boston is ending a brief two-game road trip tonight and will play its next two tests on home ice, beginning with Thursday's test against Chicago.

Boston has won all three meetings with the Sens this year, but two of those victories came in shootouts. Overall, the Bruins have won 10 of 11 in the series and have also taken five of their last six in Ottawa.

01/05 10:54:38 ET


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