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Senators defeat Bruins, 2-0 11.13.10 at 9:35 pm ET
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Tim Thomas suffered his first loss of the season as the Senators defeated the Bruins, 2-0, at TD Garden on Saturday night behind a shutout from Brian Elliot. With the loss, Thomas is now 8-1-0 in 10 starts this season.

Erik Karlsson scored for the Senators in the first period, getting the puck off a face-off won by Ottawa center Chris Kelly and firing a wrist shot past Tim Thomas. Daniel Alfredsson picked up his seventh goal of the season and made it 2-0 at 4:15 of the third when he took a pass from Milan Michalek and beat Thomas from the bottom of the circle on a bang-bang play.

Patrice Bergeron nearly had the Bruins on the board in the second period with the B’s on the power play. A high shot from Bergeron took a funny bounce off Elliot and nearly crossed the goal line. Blake Wheeler dove to tip it in, but accidentally got a glove on it, and the play was called no goal.

The loss dropped the Bruins’ record in home games to 2-4-1, with their Garden record falling to 2-3-1. The Bruins have not won a home game since Oct. 28, when the B’s defeated the Maple Leafs, 2-0.

The Bruins will try to remedy their home woes when they host the Devils on Monday night.

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Michael Ryder, Bruins hope home struggles not a repeat of last season at 1:44 pm ET
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Michael Ryder has four points in six home games this season (AP Photo)

The Bruins are dealing with inconsistency at home, but hold the “what else is new?” comment.

The B’s can’t seem to shake whatever it is that made them 17-17-6 at the Garden a season ago and 2-2-1 this season, but that isn’t to say that they’re willing to accept their fate as a bad home team.

“We knew last year that we struggled at home, but we’ve tried to block it out and get to our mentality that we have on the road,” Michael Ryder said following the Bruins’ morning skate on Saturday. “Maybe when when we’re on the road, we’re a little more focused than we are at home. I think we’re aware of it, but I don’t think we need to panic. It’s still early in the year, and I think if we win tonight it will be a big step forward.”

The Bruins will face an Ottawa team on Saturday that is 3-3-1 on the road this season, though the Senators have won their last three road contests. The key to victory will be getting past goaltender Brian Elliot, and that will require more scoring than the Bruins have been able to turn in at home this season.

Counting both the “home” and “away” game in Prague, the Bruins have scored 3.7 goals per away game, while they’ve averaged just 2.2 goals per game at home. Ryder, who has gotten his points both on the road and at home, doesn’t quite know how to diagnose what the team’s done differently from one place to the next.

“Not really,” Ryder said when asked if he felt the team was doing anything specifically different. “Maybe it’s just that at home, sometimes you try and do things a little different than you do on the road. You keep it more simple when you get on the road, and I think at home we just get away from that and our style of play. I think if we do that tonight, we’ll be fine and we’ll start winning at home a lot more.”

The most recent loss suffered at the Garden came Thursday, when the Bruins lost their legs after coming out flying early in the first period en route to a 3-1 defeat against the Canadiens. It’s after games such as the Habs contest that the veterans stress that the team be encouraged by what they do right.

“We’ve got to just keep plugging along,” Mark Recchi said. “We got off to a great start last time, but the puck didn’t go in. Just keep plugging. We have a good road mentality, to just go out there and play our game. We know what makes us tick as a team and what makes us go. If we play that way, we’re going to be fine at home or wherever we are, really. We just have to get back to that, and make sure we continue it.”

Like Ryder, Recchi knows that it’s easy to look at the struggles at home and think that it’s simply a case of continuing down a road embarked upon a season ago, but he also sees a distinct difference in this Bruins club from that of a season ago.

“We believe in ourselves, and we believe in what we’re doing and we believe that if we do the right things, we’re going to win hockey games,” Recchi said. “We’ve got a strong belief in each other, and that’s very important. We know if we play the right way and play Bruins hockey and lay physical, get pucks deep, and skate, we’re very tough to play against. We’re still trying to grow that identity, and it’s a process, and it’s early, and we’ve still got a long ways to go, but the guys are forging ahead here and want to get better.”

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Senators at Bruins preview, 11/13 at 12:29 pm ET
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Jason Spezza has 12 points in 11 games this season (AP Photo)

The Bruins are set to take on the Senators on Saturday night at TD Garden. Tim Thomas was first off the ice for the Bruins in their morning skate, with Cory Clouston telling reporters following the Senators’ skate that he will start Brian Elliot, who is 8-4 with a 2.81 goals against average and a .911 save percentage in 12 games this season. Both teams have 17 points on the young season, though the Senators, who are 8-7-1, have played three more contests than the 8-4-1 Bruins.

WHERE IT’S AT

- The Bruins are 2-3-1 as the home team this season, and 2-2-1 when playing at the Garden. They’ve gone 0-2-1 in their last three home games, the most recent of which was a 3-1 loss to the Canadiens on Thursday night.

- The Senators are 3-3-1 on the road this season, though they have won their last two contests away from Ottawa and beat the Canadiens in Montreal last Saturday.

NOTABLE NUMBERS

- Thomas has started just two games at home this season, and the only goal he allowed in the six periods was one he gave away to Jason Chimera of the Capitals. Overall, the 36-year-old is 8-0-0 with a 1.39 goals against average and an NHL-best .959 save percentage in nine starts. He shut out the Senators on Oct. 30th, one of three shutouts he’s picked up this season.

- Old friend Sergei Gonchar is a minus-nine for the Senators in his first season with the club. Yeesh.

- Even Nathan Horton has seen a dip in production at the Garden as of late. Since picking up a goal and an assist in the B’s 3-2 loss to the Rangers on Oct. 23, he’s been held off the scoring sheet in three contests in Boston. Such a statistic should be taken with a grain of salt, however, as the Bruins have been able to score just four goals over their last three games at the Garden.

Horton still leads the Bruins with four goals in home games this season, though two of them came in Prague.

- Only three Bruins have positive plus/minus ratings in home games this season: Gregory Campbell, Milan Lucic, and Brad Marchand, all of whom are a plus-one. Michael Ryder and Blake Wheeler are at the opposite end of the spectrum, as each are a minus-four in home games.

STORYLINES GOING IN

- There are two things the Bruins are dealing with: injuries and struggles at home. One is beyond their control, and the other remains a growing problem. They’ve faced good teams at the Garden this season, but they’ve had no trouble beating top teams on the road. Stay tuned as more develops.

- Filip Kuba will make his season debut for the Senators, with Clouston indicating he will be paired with Erik Karlsson. The 33-year-old has been out with a fractured fibula. In 61 games last season, the Czech-born defenseman had three goals and 25 assists.

- When the Bruins last faced the Senators, Ottawa was sitting at 4-5-1, but they’ve picked it up since. The Senators are 4-1-0 since that Oct. 30th contest, though the loss came in their most recent game, an ugly showing in which the Canucks handled them in 6-2 fashion.

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Bruins set for divisional matchup with Senators 10.30.10 at 2:22 pm ET
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Brian Elliott is looking to help the Senators leapfrog the Bruins in the standings with a pair of points on Saturday night. (AP Photo)

Brian Elliott is looking to help the Senators leapfrog the Bruins in the standings with a pair of points on Saturday night. (AP Photo)

After spending the last three games getting comfortable with the Garden, the Bruins, undefeated on the road this season, are in Ottawa and set to take on the Senators in their second-straight game against a division rival. The Senators are 4-5-1 on the season, good for nine points, just one better than last-place Buffalo in the Northeast division.

- Tim Thomas will be in net for the Bruins, and manning the pipes for the Senators is 30-year-old Brian Elliott. Now in his third season with the Senators (he started one game in the 2007-08 campaign), Elliott hasn’t put up the prettiest numbers, posting a 3.27 goals against average and a .900 save percentage. The numbers look even worse when put up against Thomas’ league-leading 0.60 GAA and .981 save percentage. Thomas is 16-7-2 against the Senators in his career with a 2.10 GAA and .932 save percentage.

- Thomas’ chief concerns will be Daniel Alfredsson, who has six goals and six assists on the season, as well as Jason Spezza. The latter is returning from a groin injury that kept him out for the Sens’ last four games, though Ottawa has won their last two.

- Left wing Milan Michalek is out for about a week for the Senators thanks to tendinitis in his surgically repaired left knee. Michalek has four goals and an assist in eight games played this season.

- Old friend Sergei Gonchar was honored by the NHL on Tuesday as he dressed in his 1000th career NHL game. The Russian defenseman, who finished out the 2003-04 season and playoffs with the Bruins after a deadline deal with Washington, was inked to a three-year, $16 million deal by the Senators after playing the previous five seasons in Pittsburgh. Now 36 years of age, Gonchar has six assists on the season.

- For the Bruins, Nathan Horton’s season-opening point streak ended in Thursday’s 2-0 victory over the Maple Leafs, but he still leads the B’s with nine. The only change the Bruins have seen to roster was Friday’s move that sent Brian McGrattan to Providence for the weekend for conditioning. The move will have no impact on Saturday’s lineup, as McGrattan had been a healthy scratch in all five games he’s played in since signing with the Bruins.

Here are the lines, according to the Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa:

Milan Lucic – David Krejci – Nathan Horton

Jordan Caron – Patrice Bergeron – Blake Wheeler

Mark Recchi – Tyler Seguin – Michael Ryder

Brad Marchand – Gregory Campbell – Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara – Andrew Ference

Matt Hunwick – Dennis Seidenberg

Mark Stuart – Adam McQuaid

Tim Thomas

Tuukka Rask

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