The Northeast Division-leading Boston Bruins appear to be back on track following their longest pointless streak of the season.
Thomas, who could be in net after getting the night off in the Bruins’ last game, looks to continue his dominance of the lowly Ottawa Senators on Friday night at Scotiabank Place.
Boston (32-19-7) opened a six-game road trip with a 6-3 win over the New York Islanders on Thursday, snapping a three-game regulation losing streak. Six Bruins scored as the team equaled the number of goals it had during its skid to move two points ahead of Montreal atop the division.
“Good way to start the road trip,” Boston coach Claude Julien said. “We worked hard for these two points.”
The Bruins shored up their defense Friday by acquiring veteran blue liner Tomas Kaberle(notes) from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for prospect Joe Colborne(notes) and two draft picks, including their first-rounder in 2011.
The coach had said after Wednesday’s practice that he was going to give Thomas some days off to keep him fresh, but it seems probable he’ll be back between the pipes against one of his favorite opponents.
Thomas, just 1-2-0 with a 4.55 goals-against average in his last four games, is 13-3-0 with a 1.47 GAA and five shutouts in his last 16 starts against Ottawa. He has started all three of Boston’s games against the Senators this season, going 2-1-0 with two shutouts while stopping 91 of 93 shots.
That loss was one of 18 for Ottawa in its last 20 games.
The scuffling Senators (18-30-9) managed to end an 11-game skid Saturday in Edmonton, but followed that up with Tuesday’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Islanders. Bobby Butler(notes) and Ryan Shannon(notes) scored on the power play and Erik Karlsson(notes) had the other goal for Ottawa, which fell to 0-9 in games that have gone to overtime or a shootout.
After that loss, Ottawa traded center Chris Kelly(notes) to Boston for a second-round pick in this year’s draft. The Senators also dealt Mike Fisher(notes) to Nashville last week, Jarkko Ruutu(notes) to Anaheim on Thursday and swapped goaltenders with Colorado on Friday, acquiring Craig Anderson(notes) for Brian Elliott(notes).
Kelly, who was fifth on the Senators with 12 goals, is suddenly playing for a contender, and is expected to make his Bruins debut against his former team.
“It’ll be a weird feeling coming out on the other side of the rink,” he said. “Ottawa’s all I know, being drafted here and playing my whole career here.”
Kelly will be trying to add to Ottawa’s misery at home that he recently experienced.
The Senators, losers of 15 of 17 in Ottawa, are 0-6-3 at Scotiabank Place since beating Pittsburgh 3-1 on Dec. 26. This is Ottawa’s longest home losing streak since dropping 10 straight from Nov. 30, 1995-Jan. 25, 1996.
Breaking out of this slide against Boston won’t be easy. The Bruins, 5-2-0 on the road since Jan. 10, have outscored the Senators 14-4 in winning their last four games in Ottawa, and have won seven of their last eight there.