If the Sens want to emerge from their battle with the Bruins without getting mauled, it will come down to two key factors:
- Control the play: Boston is not a particularly dynamic team in terms of offense, but they are an excellent defensive team, employing a sound and effective counter-attack system. Add to this some outstanding goal-tending, and if you do not put the Bruins on their heels, they'll likely beat you by a combination of neutral-zone frustration, opportunistic scoring and stellar goal-tending. Boston is an excellent systems team, and to beat them you have to force them to play outside of their comfort zone.
- Special Teams: As a part of Boston's opportunistic offense, the power play factors large. Ottawa must play a solid puck-possession game, limit the need to take defensive penalties and above all else not take foolish or selfish penalties. If you find yourself in the box versus Boston, not only will you likely pay the price in goals against, but you'll be dwindling away much-needed offensive opportunities against a stingy team.
Elliott will get the start, and another opportunity to solidify his growing confidence in the net.
Spezza will draw in after missing four games due to a groin strain, but Michalek will miss the game due to tendinitis.
This will force Clouston to shake up the lines, but thanks to a depth of forwards able to play anywhere up front, a previous log jam at centre with the return of Spezza will be resolved by moving Regin to the wing to play alongside Spezza and Kovalev (a new combination) and have Fisher centre Foligno and Alfredsson.
According to the standings and recent history between the two clubs, Ottawa will be in a tough position to post a win tonight, but with the right combination of strong play, and discipline, the Sens have good reason to expect a win.
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