A night after having their nine-game point streak snapped, the Boston Bruins will visit the Atlantic Division rival Ottawa Senators for the first time this season on Thursday night to begin a two-game road trip before the All-Star break.
Fortunately for the Bruins, there is no time to dwell on their 3-2 home loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday.
Brad Marchand’s two third-period goals were not enough for the Bruins. Jordan Martinook’s breakaway with 2:27 remaining gave Boston its first regulation setback since Jan. 4, ending a five-game winning streak and a 6-0-3 run.
“We’ve (responded to challenges) all year,” Bruins forward Charlie Coyle said. “Sometimes, you’ve got to go through it to get better, but the effort has to be there. … We’ve got to be on our toes and play hard. … We’ve corrected things and we’ve gotten better from it.”
While the comeback from a 2-0 deficit was strong, Boston’s effort from puck drop and its management of the close-game situation were not.
“You’ve got to know we’ve done a great job of tying it 2-2. We don’t need to force anything,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said. “Points are valuable. It’s a good lesson going into the playoffs. Momentum was on our side, the crowd’s into it. … You can’t lose position and give up a breakaway.”
Montgomery thought his team needed an offensive spark late against the Hurricanes, opting for a line of Marchand, Coyle and Trent Frederic.
Frederic assisted on both of Marchand’s goals, giving him points in three straight and five of his past seven games.
Marchand is now tied with Ray Bourque for fifth on the Bruins’ all-time goal-scoring list with 395.
Including Wednesday’s loss, Boston is 4-3-1 in the first game of back-to-back sets this season. The Bruins are 3-2-2 in the second games.
After Linus Ullmark made 30 saves on Wednesday, Jeremy Swayman, who is 4-0-3 in his past seven starts, likely will start in the Bruins’ goal at Ottawa.
The Senators will have the advantage of a day’s rest as they search for a third consecutive win. They are coming off a 4-1 road triumph over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.
While going 4-1-1 in its past six games, Ottawa has scored at least four goals on five occasions while allowing two or fewer three times.
“We’re playing better defensively,” Senators forward Shane Pinto said. “We’re checking for our chances, we’re not giving (up) much and we’re just playing simple. We’re bending, not breaking.”
Interim coach Jacques Martin, who took over on Dec. 18 after D.J. Smith was fired, likes what he has seen from his team of late. He hopes that more of the same will continue against Boston in the opener of a three-game homestand leading up to the All-Star break.
“I look back at our last four games, we seem to be playing with more commitment away from the puck,” Martin said. “There seems to be more of a focus of trusting each other and working together. Our penalty-killing was pretty good. We had to kill five penalties (against the Canadiens), and we did a good job.”
Pinto, who scored a goal at Montreal, has logged points in each of his two games since returning from a 41-game suspension for activities related to sports wagering. Ottawa’s Ridly Greig, Jake Sanderson and Mathieu Joseph also lit the lamp on Tuesday.
Senators defenseman Travis Hamonic will miss his second straight game after sustaining an upper-body injury in the first period of Ottawa’s 5-3 win at Philadelphia on Sunday.
–Field Level Media
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