The Ottawa Senators aren’t unlike the majority of NHL clubs in that they’re desperate to get what the Bruins already have. It’s not just the championship the Sens and the league are after, it’s the consistency with which the Bruins operate with night in and night out.
Ottawa head coach Paul MacLean is trying to build a similar system and culture for the Sens, something he appeared to be well on the way to achieving with a surprising playoff berth last season. This season, however, the Senators have struggled to build off of that. The Senators are in town to face the Bruins, and they’ll get their latest look at a team that has been able to build off of its previous successes.
“They’re a team that plays — they’re hard to play against because they play the same way all the time, they play it all the time and they just stick to it and stick to it,” MacLean told reporters on Friday morning. “And that’s something we admire, or I do as a coach, that a team can play that way. That’s what we aspire to get to is we can get that good for that long and that consistently.”
The Sens share a division with the Bruins, which means they get plenty of up-close chances to see how the Bruins operate. The Bruins have had the better of those recent contests and in a big way. Boston comes into Friday night’s game having won 13 of its last 16 against the Senators. However, the Bruins have actually lost their last two against Ottawa, which helped snapped an 11-game win streak in Ottawa.
“After the three-day break, we look to the chance every time we play the Boston Bruins it’s always a challenge to play the team that has gone to the Stanley Cup final and won the Stanley Cup, it’s always a test,” MacLean said. “I know for our group it’s always a test and we look forward to this one [Friday] and then back home [Saturday] night. It’s going to be a good test for us, we feel we’ve played better our last 10 games but teams like Boston, they bring out the best in us and that’s only good for us.”
The Senators need to make the most out of those opportunities moving forward, too. They’re approaching the season’s halfway point and find themselves 15 points out of first place in the Atlantic Division. The silver lining for MacLean’s bunch is that they’re just one point out of the Eastern Conference’s eighth playoff spot.