NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, April 4th
(All times eastern)
Boston Bruins (40-28-12) at Ottawa Senators (43-30-8), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Ottawa Senators will likely try to clinch a playoff
spot tonight without one of their biggest weapons, as they take on the Boston
Bruins at Scotiabank Place.
Ottawa needs just a point tonight to wrap up its 11th straight postseason
trip. That became possible with Thursday night's 8-2 thumping of geographical
While the Senators routed the Maple Leafs, they did see forward Daniel
Alfredsson, who had two assists, leave the game late in the first period after
taking a shot to the head from Mark Bell.
Alfredsson (40 goals, 49 assists) is doubtful for tonight's game due to head
and knee ailments and has already missed a total of 11 games this year because
of groin, hip and back injuries. Most recently, he missed four games to back
issues in early March.
Also, Mike Fisher is doubtful for tonight because of a left knee injury
suffered on Thursday.
Antoine Vermette notched his first career hat trick and added an assist in the
win, while Dany Heatley scored twice to give him 41 goals and a third straight
season of at least 40 markers. Jason Spezza matched a career high set last
year with his 34th goal while running his team-leading assist total to 58 on a
pair of helpers.
Martin Gerber stopped 26 shots for defending Eastern Conference champion
Ottawa, which now has 94 points and holds the sixth spot in the Eastern
Conference. The Sens are two points up on Boston and Washington, which are
tied for seventh, and a point back of the fifth-seeded New York Rangers.
Both the Bruins and Rangers have played one fewer game than Ottawa.
The Senators will wrap their regular season tonight and will try to halt a
three-game home losing streak as well. Ottawa is 22-14-4 at home this year.
Though tied with Washington for seventh in the East, the Bruins can also lock
up a playoff spot tonight with a win and a regulation loss by Philadelphia,
which hosts New Jersey.
Boston managed to get a point last time out for a sixth straight game (3-0-3)
on Wednesday, but did lose its second straight contest after a 3-2 shootout
setback versus New Jersey.
Tim Thomas made 23 saves and stopped the first three shooters he saw in the
shootout before getting beat on a backhander by Zach Parise.
Dennis Wideman and Milan Lucic scored for the Bruins, while David Krejci had
an assist to run his point streak to five games (3g, 6a).
Bruins defenseman Andrew Alberts returned to the lineup after being out since
mid-December with post-concussion syndrome. However, Boston has been without
Andrew Ference (knee) and Marc Savard (back) for the last five games, and
Chuck Kobasew (fractured tibia) for the last four tests.
Savard is third in the league with 63 assists.
Boston has lost seven of its last eight road games, and is 19-13-8 as the
visiting team this season. After wrapping up the road portion of its regular
season tonight, the Bruins host Buffalo on Saturday in their season finale.
Ottawa is 4-3-0 versus Boston this year and has won eight of the last 12 in
the series. The Senators have also won four of their last six at home against
04/04 10:42:18 ET