“They just do everything right. They’re the best team, probably, in the league. From top to bottom, depth wise, from the goaltender on out, they’re very good. They’re very hard to play against. They play the game and wear you out. They just keep coming over and over and over again. As far as I’m concerned, they’re the best team in the East.” -Ottawa Senators Coach Paul Maclean.
Not many coaches are going to their opponents this kind of stick tap. I’ve said this several times this season. I bleed black and gold, but you got to give it to the Ottawa Senators. If any team has had to pick itself up and play through a non stop hailstorm of adversity, it is them. Their current injured roster reads as follows: Forward Dave Dziurzynski (concussion) is out indefinitely. Goalie Craig Anderson (ankle),(Anderson is still considered a front runner for the Vezina despite the injury.) defensemen Jared Cowen (hip), Mike Lundin (concussion) and Erik Karlsson (Achilles) and forwards Jason Spezza (back), and Peter Regin (upper body).
Most teams in the NHL would look upon the holes in their roster and brace for a nightmare season. The Senators are the exception. They’re 13-8-4. I offered in a previous article that the Senators are like the Mighty Ducks, but it’s no longer applicable. This team has all the character and integrity that another Canadian team *cough* Habs! *cough* lacks. The Bruins play hard, but don’t always play to their potential. The Senators play just as hard, and it seems this team usually exceeds its potential. Look at the Sens last game. They were playing the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Bruins Nation knows how hard it is to play there.
Robin Lehner(who will be in the crease against us) gave them 33 saves. The Senators fought the entire way. Jakob Silfverberg scored with 4:41 remaining to put the Senators ahead, and a team that is much an AHL team as a NHL team earned a 3-2 win. Their record at MSG is now 12-1-1 for their last fourteen regular season games there.
Another reason to respect the Senators is their humility. They’re as honest about their play as our Bruins are. The last two weeks we’ve heard from the B’s that they’re not happy that they are not playing to their maximum potential. The Bruins then hit the practice ice to improve and we’ve seen the team get better in these last few games. The same applies to Ottawa. “We’ve been playing OK on the road, but we haven’t been playing with the killer instinct to get the win,” captain Daniel Alfredsson said. “We knew tonight the fifth game on the road, it would be a big boost for our team. I thought we did a good job laying it on the line in the third period.” The Bruins and the Senators both seem to have that extra boost in the third period.
In most games, I always hope for a 6-1, or a 4-0 blowout of our opponents. I’m still waiting for my dream of a Bruins-Canadiens game where we win by at least a touchdown. I can honestly say I don’t feel that way about the Senators. I want us to win, but a 1-0 or a 2-1 game would be fine with me.
The Bruins (16-3-3) will be trying to extend their streak at 7:30 tonight. It will be broad-casted on NESN, and on the radio at 98.5 The Sports Hub.