Bruins try to remain perfect, visit Senators
The fast start that the Ottawa Senators were hoping for has eluded them through two games, but Tuesday night’s first opportunity of the season to skate on home ice could provide the energy boost they need.
Coming off a two-day break, the Senators will take on the undefeated Boston Bruins, who will serve as their opponents after starting a back-to-back by beating Florida 5-3 on Monday.
Ottawa was 1:55 away from forcing overtime in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to Toronto, but surrendered a late goal to take its second straight setback after opening the season with a loss to the Sabres.
“We defended really well and then we let them get to the net there with two minutes to go,” Senators coach D.J. Smith said. “It’s really disappointing, but if we play like that we’re going to win lots of games.
Tuesday marks Ottawa’s first home skate with newcomers Claude Giroux and Alex DeBrincat in the lineup.
“It’s supposed to be the biggest crowd in the last five years, that’s great for our guys,” Smith said. “We played a full year without fans and now we’ve got a sold-out building. We’re going to give them an absolute effort.”
Giroux scored his first goal as a Senator and assisted on Shane Pinto’s power-play tally on Saturday.
Boston is looking for its first 4-0-0 start since 1990-91.
Coach Jim Montgomery is excited about his team’s start, but he knows the challenge that awaits in the rested Sens.
“I was worried about (Tuesday night) yesterday because they’re sitting at home, they played two on the road and haven’t won,” Montgomery said after Monday’s win over the reigning President’s Trophy winners. “I know their coach and he’s going to have them ready to go.”
The Bruins received a Monday surprise, as Jake DeBrusk took part in the team’s morning skate and warmups before scoring two goals and notching an assist against the Panthers. It was his 26th birthday.
DeBrusk, who had requested a trade out of Boston last season before then-coach Bruce Cassidy got fired, is back to being a Bruin all the way. He posted the second three-point performance in as many games by a Boston player.
“It’s one thing to do it for one game, but we’ve got 79 left. There’s a challenge … against a good Ottawa team and we’ve just got to keep the ball rolling,” DeBrusk said. “We need all hands on deck. Having as many guys (as we have scoring) is going to help the team.”
With Cam Talbot (upper-body injury) still “a couple weeks away” from returning to the net, the Senators have relied on Anton Forsberg through two games.
Linus Ullmark stopped 38 Florida shots for his second win of Boston’s three, but Montgomery has indicated he wants to split goaltenders in the early going.
A true alternation would give Jeremy Swayman the net on Tuesday.
Despite some early scoring challenges — netting just three goals in two games — and adapting to the late injury in net, Ottawa captain Brady Tkachuk knows there is plenty of hockey left to play.
“I don’t think it’s any time to panic — it’s two games, and of course, we’d like to win both those games. But it’s still two out of 82,” Tkachuk said. “So we’re not too worried about it.”
–Field Level Media