Sun, 24 Sep 2023

Bruins plan to continue goalie rotation vs. Senators

Field Level Media
21 Mar 2023, 21:55 GMT+10

The only team to already have clinched a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Boston Bruins return home from a five-game road trip to face the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.

Boston (53-11-5, 111 points) will play five of its next six games on home ice after finishing a 3-2-0 road trip with victories at Winnipeg, Minnesota and Buffalo.

The Bruins ensured the winning trip in dominant fashion on Sunday, scoring 15 seconds in and never looking back on the way to a 7-0 victory over the Sabres. Seven different players lit the lamp, with Jake DeBrusk logging four points and Patrice Bergeron three.

"When we're playing connected like that, we all know where each other are in our spots," Boston coach Jim Montgomery said. "It's fun to watch them go."

Star winger David Pastrnak netted his 48th goal -- tying his single-season NHL high -- after breaking a personal 21-game, power-play scoring drought during Boston's 5-2 win over the Wild on Saturday.

The Bruins began the recent trip in Detroit and Chicago, where they took their first back-to-back regulation losses of the season.

"When things don't go our way, we want to get right back, do it right and get a win," Boston forward Charlie Coyle said. "We started the trip off with two losses. That's not ideal. It's not like us. We haven't had much of that at all."

Two of the past three wins were Jeremy Swayman-backed shutouts, marking a first for any Bruins goalie since Tuukka Rask in 2011. In Buffalo, the NHL's Third Star of the Week stopped all 26 shots faced.

Linus Ullmark, who is 9-1-0 in his past 10 starts, will bring his league-leading 34 wins, 1.97 GAA and .935 save percentage back into the net on Tuesday.

"We don't think we need to stray from it right now," Montgomery said of rotating Swayman and Ullmark. "I always talk to (goaltending coach Bob Essensa and GM Don Sweeney) about what we should be doing to get our goalies to be in the best position to be ready. We'll continue to do that, but ... you don't need to fix anything that's not broken."

The Bruins also have utilized a rotation to give defensemen a rest in the late stages of the season. Forward David Krejci rested minor "bumps and bruises" on Sunday.

Ottawa (34-31-5, 73 points) snapped a five-game skid with a 2-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday. The Senators will look to claim the season series against the NHL's top team, which it beat at home in October and December.

The last meeting between the teams was a 3-1 home win for the Bruins on Feb. 20.

On Monday, Drake Batherson scored the deciding goal on a power play with 2:09 remaining as the Senators won despite being outshot 49-21.

Dylan Ferguson made 48 saves in his first NHL start after being recalled from AHL Belleville a day earlier. Only three other goalies made at least 48 saves in their first career win and none since 1994.

"We've been playing some good hockey lately so this one felt good," Ottawa defenseman Jake Sanderson said. "(Ferguson) was dialed in from the puck drop. I could tell from looking in his eyes. We were like, 'Holy crap, this kid is a player.' He was confident all night."

The Senators were coming off consecutive 5-4 losses to the Colorado Avalanche and the Toronto Maple Leafs, the latter contest ending in a shootout.

"(Monday) was one of those games we stayed with it, but let's make no mistake, the goalie comes in, he makes 19 saves in the first period, he's on everything and it's just a perfect end for a guy like that," Ottawa coach D.J. Smith said.

Thomas Chabot also scored for the Senators, becoming the fifth defenseman in franchise history to reach the 10-goal mark multiple times.

--Field Level Media

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