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Senators staying competitive despite injuries 02.28.13 at 12:44 pm ET
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The Senators are a team playing without some of their key players, but their results haven’t shown that.

Ottawa was already hurting with Jason Spezza done potentially for the season due to back surgery, but they suffered another big blow when reigning Norris Trophy Winner Erik Karlsson was lost for the year as the result of Matt Cooke‘s skate cutting his Achilles tendon on Feb 13. Additionally, goaltender Craig Anderson hasn’t played since Feb. 21 due to an ankle injury.

Yet as the injuries have piled up for the Senators, so too have the win. Ottawa comes into Boston for Thursday night’s matchup with the Bruins riding a five-game winning streak. Two of the victories were divisional wins over Toronto and Montreal, with three of the victories of shootout variety. They beat the Rangers last Thursday, and now they enter Boston looking to make another statement against another one of the Eastern Conference’s more talented squads.

“They’re well-coached and everybody’s buying into the system,” Chris Kelly said of his former club. “You need to be that way when you lose key players and really good players. You lose your goaltender, you lose arguably your best forward and your best defenseman. That’s going to hurt any team, and you give them credit for finding ways to get two points.”

Behind the success for Ottawa has been goaltender Ben Bishop, who has won his last four games and has spelled Anderson admirably since the other half of Ottawa’s netminding tandem. When Claude Julien looks at how Ottawa’s been able to win despite the losses of Spezza and Karlsson, he looks at Bishop and Anderson, when healthy.

“They have an unbelievable goaltending tandem right now that is so good for them,” Julien said. “The last game that they played in Montreal, [Bishop] did make a difference. There’s no doubt there. The other part is I think they still play a good team game, which allows them to win hockey games. We’ve been through that before. When you have lots of injuries, you’ve just got to be even better at playing a good team game, and that’s what they’re doing.”

Entering Thursday night, the Senators are third in the Northeast Division with 26 points (12-6-2) in 20 games. They’ve played four more games than the B’s (16) and as many games as the Canadiens, who lead the division with 29 points. A win against the B’s could help keep them in the mix despite all the games the Bruins have in hand, and it would also show that they can stick around despite injuries. So far, they’ve done that.

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Lines unchanged as Bruins prepare for Senators 02.28.13 at 11:47 am ET
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After completing a five-game road trip Tuesday night, the Bruins are set to kick off a three-game home stand when they host the Senators in what will be the first of three games in four days.

All members of the Bruins were on the ice at morning skate, with Tuukka Rask the first goaltender off the ice, suggesting he will start his fifth consecutive game. Here’s the projected lineup for Thursday.

Milan Lucic ‘€“ David Krejci ‘€“ Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand ‘€“ Patrice Bergeron ‘€“ Tyler Seguin
Chris Bourque ‘€“ Chris Kelly ‘€“ Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille ‘€“ Gregory Campbell ‘€“ Shawn Thornton

Zdeno CharaJohnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg – Dougie Hamilton
Andrew Ference – Adam McQuaid

Tuukka Rask

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Dougie Hamilton might look like Beaker, but he’s no Muppets buff 02.27.13 at 2:47 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Dougie Hamilton is a smart guy. He knows the game of hockey well, and he was a superb student before his NHL career, winning the OHL Scholastic Player of the Year in 2011.

There is one thing he doesn’t know, however, and that’s the Muppets.

A photoshopped picture of Hamilton, done by the website, made the rounds on Tuesday night. The image had a frowning Hamilton next to a picture of Beaker in a Bruins uniform. The Bruins saw it on the bus after their 4-1 win over the Islanders last night and had a good laugh over it.

The picture was hilarious to teammates, but though Hamilton said he found it funny, he didn’t get the joke as well as the rest of the team.

“I don’t know who Beaker is,” he admitted Thursday.

That didn’t sit well with Milan Lucic.

“Looch was really upset about that,” Brad Marchand said. “Looch asked every person on the plane last night if they knew who the Muppets were after Dougie said he didn’t know. We had some fun about that one. I hope Looch has settled down a little bit about that one.”

Often the target of jokes from teammates and opponents himself, Marchand is glad to see the Hamilton — a very business-like player for a rookie — get involved with the good-natured ribbing.

“Everyone gets it from day to day,” Marchand. “It’s funny to see Dougie react to things like that. He’s new and young and guys like to have fun with it. He’s good about it, he takes it in stride.”

Read More: Brad Marchand, Dougie Hamilton, Milan Lucic,
Bruins ready to welcome Michael Ryder back to Boston-Montreal rivalry 02.27.13 at 2:23 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — If Bruins fans were hoping Michael Ryder would return to his old stomping grounds, they should have been more specific.

The Canadiens swung a deal with the Stars Tuesday night to bring back the former Hab and Bruin, sending Erik Cole to Dallas for Ryder and a third-round pick. The 32-year-old has six goals and eight assists for 14 points this season after scoring a career-high 35 goals a season ago.

Ryder, who was in the final year of the two-year deal he signed with the Stars after the Bruins’ Stanley Cup championship, would have been a logical fit for the B’s at the trade deadline. In addition to getting some payroll off the books (Cole has a $4.5 million cap hit through 2014-15), the Canadiens managed to cross one target off Boston’s list entering trade season.

Given that the roster has gone largely unchanged since Ryder and the B’s won the Cup in 2011, it will be strange for some Bruins players to see Ryder as a division rival rather than a teammate. Tyler Seguin still remembers how much Ryder’s presence helped him in his rookie year, from his Hail Mary pass on Seguin’s first career goal to their explosive work together in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Lightning.

“[He helped me] a lot. He was on my first NHL goal, he made that pass to me,” Seguin said Wednesday. “He wasn’t as loud as some of the other guys, but when he did talk to me, he was a guy you’d look up to. He could definitely snipe the puck, and it was a treat playing with him.”

The Canadiens weren’t expected to be a team that would be wheeling and dealing to improve their roster for this season, as few expected them to seriously contend after a miserable 2011-12 campaign in which they went 31-25-16 and were sellers when it came to trading. Led by coach Michel Therrien, the Habs have turned their fortune around with a with a 12-4-3 start, leading the Northeast Division with 27 points (though they’ve played three more games than the B’s).

While many are surprised by the fact that the Habs have been for real this season, the Bruins aren’t.

“I think Montreal, as bad as their record was last year, I think they’re a way better team than what it showed last year,” Rich Peverley said. “‘€¦ Nothing’s set in stone, and they are a good team with obviously one of the best goalies in the league.”

The Bruins will face Ryder and the Habs Sunday night at TD Garden, and while his former teammates haven’t forgotten what he meant to the B’s, they’re hoping his first game back in Boston since departing isn’t too pleasant.

“We obviously have a lot of good memories together, going to the Cup there, but every guy on this team has buddies on other teams that we play against night in and night out,” Brad Marchand said. “When you’re on the ice, you hate the guy just as much as the other guy beside him.”

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Streaking Bruins return to Ristuccia 02.27.13 at 11:44 am ET
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WILMINGTON — All Bruins players were accounted for Wednesday as they returned to Ristuccia Arena following their five-game road trip. The B’s will begin a three-game home stand when they host the Senators at TD Garden on Thursday.

Here are the color-coded forward lines for the B’s from practice:

Lucic – Krejci – Horton
Marchand – Bergeron – Seguin
Bourque/Pandolfo – Kelly – Peverley
Paille/MacDermid – Campbell – Thornton

Bruins beat Islanders for fourth straight win 02.26.13 at 10:10 pm ET
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The Bruins ended their road trip with a season-high fourth straight win, beating the Islanders, 4-1 on Tuesday night.

Boston got goals from Adam McQuaid, Brad Marchand, David Krejci and Gregory Campbell, with Casey Cizikas scoring the Islanders’ only goal.

The teams entered the second period tied at one before the B’s turned in a two-goal second period with goals from Marchand and Krejci. Campbell added an empty-netter in the third.

Tuukka Rask made a season-high 36 saves on 37 shots, improving to 10-1-2 on the season.

The Bruins will return to Boston and host the Senators Thursday night at TD Garden.

Bruins beat Jets, snap losing streak 02.17.13 at 8:35 pm ET
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The Bruins snapped their two-game losing streak Sunday night, coming from behind to beat the Jets, 3-2, in Winnipeg.

The Jets opened the scoring in the second period with Alex Burmistrov’s second of the season, with Tyler Seguin redirecting a Zdeno Chara wrist shot past Ondrej Pavalec to tie it at one. Evander Kane made it 2-1 in the final minute of the second, but Daniel Paille redirected a Johnny Boychuk past Pavelec with 1.5 seconds remaining in the period.

With Ron Hainsey in the box for tripping, Brad Marchand broke the tie in the third period’s opening minute for his team-leading eighth goal of the season. The Jets made a last-second push as a Zach Redmond bid slid along the goal line but did not go in.

Tuukka Rask made 21 saves on 23 shots in the win, as the B’s improved to 9-2-2 on the season. They’ll next play Thursday night against the Lightning in Tampa Bay.

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