The Ottawa Senators have broken free from their early-season slump by producing their longest winning streak in nearly two years.
Their next opponent is still trying to find a way out of its funk.
The Senators seek a seventh consecutive victory Tuesday night when they visit the last-place Boston Bruins, who have dropped seven of 10 to begin their Stanley Cup defense.
After finishing 13th in the Eastern Conference in 2010-11, Ottawa seemed to be in for more of the same after it was outscored 30-15 during a 1-5-0 start.
The Senators, though, have rebounded from those struggles by outscoring foes 21-15 over the past six games - including five consecutive one-goal victories. They’ve used a number of late scores to keep that winning streak going, but didn’t need one in a 3-2 victory over Toronto on Sunday.
Ottawa (7-5-0) went ahead 3-1 with 12:52 remaining on Kaspars Daugavins’(notes) first NHL goal. Robin Lehner(notes) helped his team hold on, making nine third-period saves in winning his first start of the season and earning his second victory in nine career games.
“We’ve kind of been up and down the hill, but it’s all a learning process,” coach Paul MacLean said. “We know that at some point in time it’s going to come to an end, then we’re going to have to get back on the horse and do it again.”
The Senators haven’t won seven straight since a franchise-best 11-game run Jan. 14-Feb. 4, 2010, but they might have a good chance to get there Tuesday considering Boston’s scoring woes.
After finishing fifth in goals per game (2.98) last season, the Bruins are near the bottom so far this season with 2.1 per contest - a lack of production that’s one reason they’re currently in the East cellar. They scored a season-high six goals in a win over Toronto on Oct. 20 but have been outscored 10-5 in three consecutive defeats.
Boston (3-7-0) produced three goals while getting swept in a home-and-home series with Montreal last week. Tyler Seguin(notes) scored one of those - his third in four games - in the final minute of a 4-2 defeat at the Bell Centre on Saturday.
Facing the Senators might be just what the Bruins need. They’ve won four straight against their Northeast Division rivals and 18 of the last 23 matchups, including last season’s final two at the TD Garden by a combined 9-1.
To keep that run going, Boston could use an improved performance from a penalty-kill unit that gave up two goals Saturday. Ottawa is the NHL’s top team on the power play with a 31.0 percent conversion rate, scoring on seven on its last 17 chances.
“The power play has been pretty consistent for us all year long, and we have some good players we can put out there,” MacLean said.
The Senators, however, likely won’t have Daniel Alfredsson(notes) available due to an apparent concussion. The captain has 10 goals and four assists in his last 14 games against the Bruins, and registered one of his eight career regular-season hat tricks in Boston on Jan. 18, 2010.