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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Tuesday, December 18th (All times eastern)

Ottawa Senators (21-7-3) at Boston Bruins (18-11-3), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The top two teams in the Northeast Division will meet tonight in Boston, as the Bruins welcome the streaking Ottawa Senators to TD Banknorth Garden.

Ottawa leads the Eastern Conference with 45 points and is six ahead of Boston for the division lead.

The Senators have wiped away memories of their recent seven-game losing streak, as they've followed that slide up with five straight victories.

Ottawa's latest triumph came in Saturday's blowout victory over the visiting Atlanta Thrashers. Dany Heatley notched a pair of goals as the Sens destroyed the Thrashers by a 7-3 score.

Antoine Vermette added a goal and two assists for the Senators and Martin Gerber made 22 saves. Nick Foligno, Chris Kelly, Andrej Meszaros and Joe Corvo also tallied in the victory.

Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson added an assist to push his points streak to eight games -- the longest current run in the NHL this season. He has three goals and 10 helpers during the tear.

The Senators are 10-2-2 as the visiting team this year and are beginning a brief two-game road trip tonight. They will also visit Atlanta on Thursday.

The Bruins have also played well recently, winning four of their last five contests. They were in action Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets and notched a 2-0 home victory, as Alex Auld stopped all 32 shots he faced to record his second shutout of the season.

Auld, who came over in a trade with Phoenix earlier this season, is 4-1-0 with a 1.40 goals-against average and .955 save percentage in five games with the Bruins.

Auld has been the starter since the December 6 trade, but will have to make way for Tim Thomas, who is expected to assume No. 1 goaltending duties when he returns from a groin strain. Thomas has been activated from Injured Reserve and could start tonight's game, but Boston head coach Claude Julien may want to ride out the hot hand of Auld instead.

Jeremy Reich and Marco Sturm tallied for the Bruins in Saturday's win over Columbus.

Tonight marks the third portion of a five-game homestand for the Bruins, who are 8-4-1 in Beantown this year. They will close the residency with tests against Pittsburgh and St. Louis.

The Senators are 2-0 against Boston this season and have won three straight and six of the last seven meetings. Ottawa has also been victorious in its previous three trips to Beantown.

12/18 10:37:26 ET

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