Boston (16-11-7) at Ottawa (18-13-4)

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Temp: 66° F
  • Game info: 7:30 pm EST Mon Dec 21, 2009
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The Boston Bruins’ longest losing streak of the season has dropped the team into third place in the Northeast Division after the Ottawa Senators passed them over the weekend.

But the Bruins have dominated the recent series with the Senators, and they’ll try to avoid a fifth straight loss and salvage the finale of their three-game road trip in Ottawa on Monday night.

Boston (16-11-7) ranked second in the NHL with 3.3 goals per game last season, but a lack of scoring has plagued the team throughout much of its inconsistent start.

Those problems have resurfaced during the Bruins’ 0-2-2 slump, which matches their longest from all of 2008-09. They haven’t dropped five in a row since a six-game skid in December 2007.

“The last few games we’ve been outworked by the other team,” center Steve Begin(notes) said. “It’s got to stop now. We’ve got to start working harder.”

The Bruins, who rank among the bottom five in the league with an average of 2.4 goals, have totaled seven goals during their current slide, and they were blanked for the fourth time this season in a 2-0 loss at Toronto on Saturday night.

Although three regular defensemen - Dennis Wideman(notes), Mark Stuart(notes) and Derek Morris(notes) - were out with injuries for Boston, the team’s problems remained in the offensive end.

The offseason departure of Phil Kessel(notes) and the continued absence of injured left wing Milan Lucic(notes) may explain some of the problems. More puzzling, however, is the five-game drought without a point for center Marc Savard(notes), who led the team with 88 points last season.

Michael Ryder(notes), Savard’s right wing, has also struggled, scoring two goals in the last 13 games after tallying 27 in 2008-09.

“We have guys that are paid to produce and are known to produce and as long as they don’t produce, we’re going to be struggling that way,” Boston coach Claude Julien said. “I’ve said that before, and somehow we need to get better in that area.”

The Senators (18-13-4) leapfrogged the Bruins with a 4-1 win over Minnesota on Saturday, improving to 4-2-0 in their last six games overall and 8-1-0 in their past nine at home.

While continuing to play without injured center Jason Spezza(notes), they got contributions from unexpected sources as rookie defenseman Erik Karlsson(notes) scored his first NHL goal and goalie Mike Brodeur(notes) earned the win in his first NHL start.

“It feels really good,” Karlsson said. “I had two really good chances last game that I think I should have scored on and to get a goal like is always good. I’ve just got to keep shooting the puck and hope that more goals will go in.”

Brodeur, who is not related to future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur(notes), was providing some rest for Brian Elliott(notes), a workhorse lately while filling in for injured starter Pascal Leclaire(notes).

It’s likely Elliott, who has two shutouts in his last five starts, will return to the crease Monday. He started both of the Senators’ previous games against Boston this season, a pair of 4-3 shootout wins for the Bruins.

Boston has won nine of its last 10 against Ottawa, with Bruins goalie Tim Thomas(notes) winning his last nine starts against the Senators. He has a 1.63 GAA in those games.

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Monday, Dec 21