The Bruins will close out their longest road trip of the season Tuesday night in Ottawa, and a win over the Senators will make it a perfect trip as Boston has won the first five games for their longest win streak of the year.
Tuukka Rask is expected to get the chance to extend that win streak, along with his own personal season-best three-game win streak, after making 15 saves for a 3-2 victory in Edmonton on Sunday. Rask, who also beat the Senators in the second game of the trip, was the first goalie off the ice at the morning skate, the traditional indication of who will be starting that night.
Rask's second straight start will help him continue to regain his form while giving Tim Thomas some extra rest heading into a key clash of Eastern Conference division leaders when Tampa Bay comes to the Garden on Thursday.
"His practices have been a lot better, he's a lot sharper," Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said of Rask on Monday. "And in fairness, Tuukka needs games to get on a bit of a roll, so he's able to play and contribute. Tim is able to get rest and we've got a good rotation going right now."
The Bruins will again be without defenseman Andrew Ference, who suffered a lower-body injury in Vancouver on Saturday. Chiarelli stated that Ference could be out "a week and a half to two weeks or maybe more, it's in and around that range."
Steven Kampfer will again slot back into the defense rotation with Ference out, while Daniel Paille is expected to remain the healthy scratch up front.
The Senators lineup continues to be in flux after their recent string of trades, call-ups and injuries. Defenseman Chris Campoli was the latest victim of the fire sale, getting sent to Chicago on Monday. Derek Smith was recalled from Binghamton and his expected to play on the blue line. Matt Carkner, who missed practice Monday with a lower-body injury, could be out. If Carkner can play, then Brian Lee might be the odd man out.
The Senators will get former Bruin Sergei Gonchar back on defense, as he returns from a lower-body that kept him out of the last five games. Ottawa also expects forwards Chris Neil and Jesse Winchester to return from injuries Tuesday, while Ryan Potulny, acquired in the Campoli deal, will make his Ottawa debut.
The Senators still have plenty of key players out, however, with captain Daniel Alfredsson (back), Milan Michalek (foot), Peter Regin (shoulder) and goalie Pascal Leclaire (groin) all sidelined. Bruins short-timer Craig Anderson will start in goal, with Monday's waiver-wire pickup Curtis McElhinney serving as the backup.
Projected Bruins lines
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi
Rich Peverley-Chris Kelly-Michael Ryder
Greg Campbell-Tyler Seguin-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Tomas Kaberle-Dennis Seidenberg
Steven Kampfer-Adam McQuaid
Scratches: Daniel Paille, Andrew Ference (lower-body)
Projected Senators lines
Colin Greening-Jason Spezza-Bobby Butler
Erik Condra-Ryan Shannon-Marek Svatos
Nick Foligno-Zack Smith-Chris Neil
Ryan Potulny-Jesse Winchester-Francis Lessard
Chris Phillips-Brian Lee
Filip Kuba-Erik Karlsson
Derek Smith-Sergei Gonchar
Scratches: Matt Carkner (lower body), Milan Michalek (foot), Daniel Alfredsson (back), Peter Regin (shoulder), Pascal leclaire (groin)
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