One night after using an offensive outburst to snap a five-game losing streak, the Ottawa Senators look for more goals Saturday when they face the defensively struggling Boston Bruins at TD Banknorth Garden.
The Senators (6-8-1) scored twice in each period and put a season-high 44 shots on net Friday en route to a 6-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. The victory ended a five-game losing skid—Ottawa’s longest since dropping seven in a row Feb. 22-March 9, 1996.
Dany Heatley had two goals to raise his team-leading total to 10, but Jason Spezza, Andrej Meszaros, Wade Redden and Peter Schaefer all also scored in a balanced offensive effort for the Senators. The goals were the first of the season for both Redden and Schaefer.
“You can have a big line or a big individual to score goals, but to get Redden to score, to get Meszaros to score, to get Schaefer to score, these are critical things,” Senators coach Bryan Murray said.
Ottawa’s offense has seemingly been an all-or-nothing proposition this season. The Senators have outscored the opposition 33-11 in their six victories, but have managed only 16 goals in their nine losses.
They will try to keep it going against a Boston (4-7-2) club which has allowed five goals or more in each of its last four games and searching for a consistent goaltender. The Bruins sent Hannu Toivonen to Providence of the AHL on Tuesday, leaving Tim Thomas as the starting goalie and Brian Finley—who allowed seven goals in his lone career NHL start—as the backup.
Finley entered Thursday night’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs to start the second period after Thomas allowed three goals on just 10 shots in the opening 20 minutes. Finley stopped 24 of 26 shots the rest of the way, but Boston never caught up and lost the game 6-4.
“It was a goalie change to grab the attention of the players,” Bruins coach Dave Lewis said after his team lost for the third time in four games. “As a group, our defense did not play well enough to win the hockey game.”
Boston’s best defensive effort of the season came in a 2-1 victory over the Senators on Oct. 28—the only game of the season where the Bruins allowed fewer than two goals. Thomas made a season-high 35 saves to earn the win in that contest.
Former Ottawa defenseman Zdeno Chara scored the game-winning goal in his first meeting against his old team, finding the back of the net on the power play with 4:25 to play.
“That’s what he was for us,” Murray said of Chara after the Oct. 28 game. “He’s a big man out there, played a lot of minutes, matched up against the better lines and shot the puck at times. Obviously, they’ve really focused on him being the point man on the power play and finally he got one through.”
The Bruins have won four straight meetings with the Senators in Boston.