Final SO

Series (Game 1 of 6)

Boston leads 4-2

Game 1: Saturday, October 24th
Game 2: Saturday, November 28th
Game 3: Monday, December 21st
Game 4: Tuesday, January 5th
Game 5: Monday, January 18th
Game 6: Saturday, January 23rd

Bruins 4

(5-4-1, 11 pts)

Senators 3

(5-2-2, 12 pts)

Coverage: CBC

7:00 PM ET, October 24, 2009

Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

1 2 3 SO T
BOS 0 1 2 14
OTT 0 1 2 03

M. Michalek (Senators - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

T. Thomas (Bruins - G): Saves: 27, Save Pct.: .900

D. Morris (Bruins - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

Bruins-Senators Preview


The Boston Bruins ran away with the Northeast Division last season, but based on the club's early problems -- and the emergence of some of its division rivals -- that scenario appears unlikely to repeat itself.

Boston will finally play its first division game of the season Saturday in Ottawa, where the Senators will hope to send an early message and continue their strong start.

While Ottawa stumbled last season and missed the playoffs for the first time since 1996, the Bruins took the top seed in the Eastern Conference and finished with a 23-point lead on second-place Montreal in the division.

Things haven't gone so smoothly for Boston (4-4-1) this fall, alternating wins and losses in its first nine games. The Bruins will also have to play at least the next month without top-line forwards Marc Savard and Milan Lucic after learning of injuries to the duo this week.

Boston has already managed three points from the first two games without them, beating Nashville 3-2 on Wednesday before a 4-3 shootout loss at Philadelphia on Thursday night.

"You lose some key players like Lucic and Savard ... you end up having to face that challenge," coach Claude Julien said. "But also, the fact that we haven't been able to play consecutive solid games. I think (Wednesday) from the second period on, we were much better, and (Thursday) we were pretty good throughout the whole game."

Newcomer Steve Begin has provided a much-needed source of offense with a goal in each of the last two games, scoring the winner against the Predators and the equalizer versus the Flyers.

"With all the injuries we have here, we need everybody to step up," Begin said. "(Thursday) was a good example."

After backup goalie Tuukka Rask played in Philadelphia, reigning Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas could be back in net Saturday. Thomas has won his last seven starts against Ottawa, posting a 1.27 goals-against average.

Boston went 5-1-0 against the Senators last season, but Ottawa (5-2-1) has shown major signs of improvement this month and is tied with Buffalo for the division lead.

New goalie Pascal Leclaire had played well before Thursday's 6-5 shootout loss to Nashville, but the Senators' offense stepped up to erase a 3-0 third-period deficit and earn the team one point.

Ottawa outscored the Predators 5-2 during a wild final period of regulation, with Jason Spezza assisting on three of the goals. Captain Daniel Alfredsson set up Chris Phillips for the short-handed equalizer with 1.6 seconds left in regulation.

"I think we showed character in the way we fought back," Alfredsson said. "It's a little frustrating, but the way we found a way to get a point is very encouraging."

It's unclear if Leclaire will be in net for his first career appearance against the Bruins, or if backup Brian Elliott will get his second start of the season. Elliott stopped 27 shots against Boston in a 4-3 shootout loss Feb. 5.

Gritty forward Shawn Thornton is hoping to be back in the lineup for the Bruins after missing the last two games with an undisclosed injury.