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BRUINS NOTEBOOK

Murray expected back, but Samsonov will sit

OTTAWA -- The Bruins expect to have one of their star forwards back tonight when they take on the Ottawa Senators at the Corel Centre. Right wing Glen Murray, who missed Tuesday's win over the Penguins in Pittsburgh because of a case of stomach flu, didn't practice yesterday but coach Mike Sullivan is hopeful Murray will be on the ice this morning and feel well enough to suit up tonight.

Meanwhile, Sergei Samsonov, who played Tuesday but missed the final two periods because of a rib injury, almost certainly won't play tonight but isn't seriously hurt. Sullivan said Samsonov is listed as day to day.

"It was encouraging news because he didn't feel as bad as he thought he was going to feel," said Sullivan.

Samsonov, who missed nine games earlier this season because of a sprained knee, had an X-ray on his ribs after slamming into the boards in the first period.

"There were no cracked ribs or fractures, nothing like that," said Sullivan.

As for Murray, Sullivan said he was advised not to practice yesterday.

"Muzz is feeling better," said the coach. "We held him off in order to get some food and fluids in him and get his energy back, but we expect to have him for [tonight]."

Winning formula

When Brian Rolston was asked how it was that the Bruins pulled out of their tailspin from mid-November to late December to now having won six in a row, he said it was a process.

"We're playing better together as a team and I think that's one of the biggest things," he said. "I think even when we were going through that bad spell, you don't have the confidence and you chip the puck in every time. Now it seems like we're identifying when we have the opportunity to make a play and when we need to get it deep, and we've had tremendous goaltending as well. All in all, I think we're just playing tighter all the way around."

Rolston said the slump was difficult on all the players but he feels the atmosphere around the dressing room has changed dramatically as they've moved up the Eastern Conference standings.

"When you go through a losing streak like that, it's not fun for anybody," said Rolston. "You get buried in the paper, you get buried by your coaches. No one enjoys that and we just collectively started playing better. When you get that winning attitude and you continue to play well, you get the confidence and you roll with it. We know we have a great team and we feel confident that even if we get down by a goal or two goals, we can come back."

Looks are deceiving

The Senators have struggled recently, heading into tonight with only two victories in their last six games (2-3-0-1). But the Bruins, after tying and winning the first two meetings between these clubs this season, were shut out in the last two. "Obviously, Ottawa is one of the best teams in the league," said Sullivan. "They're a tough team to play against. This is a road trip that's a great measuring stick for us." . . . Sullivan said Felix Potvin will get the start in net tonight. Potvin last played Feb. 3 in a 5-4 win over Atlanta, making 26 saves . . . Next stop on the seven-game journey is a matinee in Chicago Saturday against former Bruins coach Brian Sutter and the Blackhawks.

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