The Ottawa Senators routed a red-hot opponent in their final game before the Christmas break. In their return, they'll try to end the Boston Bruins' recent dominance at home.
The Bruins will seek to extend their point streak at the TD Garden to 15 games and earn an eighth consecutive win there in Friday night's opener to a two-game series with the Senators.
Ottawa (15-17-7) snapped an 0-2-1 skid with a 5-0 victory over Pittsburgh on Monday and halted the Penguins' seven-game win streak. Erik Karlsson had a goal and two assists, and Craig Anderson stopped 27 shots to help the Senators end a three-game stretch in which they allowed 13 goals.
"It's the best way we possibly could (head into the break)," coach Paul MacLean said. "If we were looking for something under the tree that could be a motivator for us and a feel-good thing for us, beating Pittsburgh 5-0 we can head into this three-day break with a positive attitude."
Ottawa is seeking back-to-back victories for the first time since a season-high, three-game win streak Nov. 5-9, but appears to have a daunting task in trying to end that drought.
Despite being short-handed lately, the Bruins (25-10-2) are 12-0-2 at home since a 4-3 loss to New Jersey on Oct. 26. Their seven consecutive wins there are their most since a 14-game streak in 2008-09.
Boston has also won seven of nine overall and outscored its final two opponents before the break by a combined 10-3 margin. Veteran forward Jarome Iginla scored two goals in a 6-2 rout in Nashville on Monday, and the Bruins also got some help from younger players Ryan Spooner and Matt Fraser.
Spooner came into the game with four career points but exited with three assists - two on power-play goals. Boston went 3 for 3 with the man advantage, and Fraser's even-strength goal was the second of his career.
The efforts of Spooner and Fraser helped the Bruins once again make up for a bevy of absences due to injury and Shawn Thornton's 15-game suspension. Loui Eriksson (concussion), Chris Kelly (fractured fibula), Dougie Hamilton (lower body) and Daniel Paille (concussion) are among those who have been injured this month.
"There is depth in this organization," forward Reilly Smith said. ''A lot of teams may have looked past us in the last few games because we have so many guys who aren't regulars on the roster like Spooner and Fraser."
The Bruins have won six of their last eight home games against the Senators but fell 4-2 in the most recent visit April 28. They also lost 4-2 in Ottawa on Nov. 15 after blowing an early two-goal lead and have dropped back-to-back games in the series after winning 13 of 14.
Senators defenseman Jared Cowen scored two of his nine career goals in those two games, including the tiebreaking one in the win in November. Karlsson, meanwhile, extended his point streak against Boston to six games.
Karlsson has three goals and six assists during that run, and Jason Spezza has the same totals in his last six matchups.
The teams will complete the home-and-home set Saturday in Ottawa.