KANATA, Ont. — Good morning from this sunny suburb west of Ottawa, where the Bruins tonight will take on the depleted Senators, who further gutted their club yesterday by dealing away defenseman Chris Campoli at the NHL trade deadline.
In short order, the Senators could own the worst record in the NHL and have the most ping pong balls in the lottery for a chance to pick first in the June draft. Sure sign of failure in the NHL: the words ”ping pong balls” in any story after Jan. 1.
Tonight is the conclusion of a six-game road swing for the Bruins, who hope to return home with a perfect 6-0-0 record on their manifest. They began the trip with a 6-3 win over the Islanders on Feb. 17 and have outscored their opponents, 19-9.
It’s also a trip in which they have seamlessly incorporated three newcomers, including Chris Kelly, Rich Peverley and Tomas Kaberle, into their lineup. All three have yet to lose a game while wearing Black-and-Gold.
Tim Thomas, who enjoyed a night off while Tuukka Rask fronted the pipes Sunday night in Edmonton, figures as the starter here. But it’s also not out of the question that coach Claude Julien would call on Rask again, allowing Thomas extra rest for Thursday when another Eastern powerhouse, the Bolts, visits the Garden.
Update: Rask the first of the netminders to leave ice after the morning workout. Looks like this will be the second time on road trip that the Finnish phenom gets back-to-back starts. He has won three straight.
Puck drop: 7:30 p.m. EST
Record: Bruins 36-19-7, Senators 21-32-9
TV/radio info: NESN (Jack Edwards, Andy Brickley, Naoko Funayama), 98.5 The Sports Hub (Dave Goucher, Bob Beers)
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi
Rich Peverley-Chris Kelly-Michael Ryder
Tyler Seguin-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Tomas Kaberle-Dennis Seidenberg
Steven Kampfer-Adam McQuaid
Healthy scratches: Daniel Paille
Storylines: The trade deadline came and went and the Bruins stood pat with their lineup, satisfied that the Peverley-Kelly-Kaberle acquisitions have positioned them for a long playoff run…Andrew Ference, injured Saturday night in Vancouver, remains with the club, but GM Peter Chiarelli said yesterday that Ference is likely to miss upward of two weeks or more with whatever ails him (injury not disclosed). Update: Following the morning workout, Julien hinted that Ference could be back sooner. ”He’s feeling better today,” noted Julien, ”than he did yesterday after that long plane ride (Edmonton to Ottawa).”… Raw rookie Tyler Seguin saw only 9:32 in ice time against the Oil. Might Julien increase his exposure here against what amounts to another AHL squad?…The Senators did not trade veteran backliner Chris Phillips, opting instead to sign him to a three-year contract extenstion for slightly more than $3 million a year. He’s one of the few to remain a cast member on ”Senator Survivors”.