Boston Bruins (36-23-11) at Ottawa Senators (34-24-11), 7:30 p.m. (ET)

Posted: March 19, 2015 in News, NHL, Sports
Tags: , , , , , ,

Boston Bruins (36-23-11) at Ottawa Senators (34-24-11), 7:30 p.m. (ET)
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Sports Network Mar 19 2015, 10:41AM

(SportsNetwork.com) – Andrew Hammond has lifted the Ottawa Senators back into the playoff race and the first-year netminder will try to come through yet again in Thursday’s huge home test against the Boston Bruins.

Hammond was unknown to most hockey fans until recently, but his 11-0-1 record over first 12 NHL starts has changed that. The 27-year-old’s historic run also has drastically altered Ottawa’s playoff chances, and the club enters Thursday only four points behind the Bruins for the last wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Although Hammond is too old to qualify as a rookie, the freshman has managed to place himself in the league’s record books thanks to an outstanding start to his NHL career.

Hammond anchored Tuesday’s 2-1 overtime win at Carolina by stopping 35-of-36 shots and it marked the 12th straight start in which he allowed two goals or fewer. That ties a league record set by Hall of Famer Frank Brimsek in 1938-39 for the longest stretch of starts yielded fewer than three goals to begin an NHL career.

The undrafted goalie is expected to get a chance to break Brimsek’s record tonight.

Mark Stone scored with just 13.4 seconds remaining in OT to deliver the win over the Hurricanes and give Ottawa a 12-1-1 record over its last 14 games.

Hammond, meanwhile, only surrendered a first-period goal to Elias Lindholm. He went on to make 18 saves in the third period alone and three more in overtime.

“Anytime a guy can come in and have an old coach coaching, and he sets a record before the coach was even born,” Senators head coach Dave Cameron joked of Hammond. “That was (as) great (an) effort as he’s had for us. In the last 12, 13 games he’s been awesome.”

Patrick Wiercioch also tallied a goal for the Senators, with Erik Karlsson assisting on both Ottawa markers.

Ottawa is beginning a four-game homestand tonight and will continue the residency Saturday against Toronto. The Sens own a 17-11-5 record as the host this season.

Boston is 3-0-2 in its last five meetings with the Sens and has won 12 of the last 14 encounters in Ottawa.

Hammond has never faced the Bruins.

The Bruins enter tonight’s showdown on a 0-1-1 slide, which follows a stretch in which Boston won eight of 10 games.

Boston fell 2-0 at Washington on Sunday and then lost a 2-1 shootout decision Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres, who are last in the NHL standings.

The B’s played Tuesday without No. 1 goaltender Tuukka Rask, who was sidelined with an illness. Rask did skate on Wednesday and is expected to return to the crease tonight.

Loui Eriksson provided Boston’s lone marker on Tuesday and Niklas Svedberg made 23 saves in defeat. Svedberg allowed the lone goal of the shootout to Tyler Ennis, Buffalo’s first shooter in the tiebreaker.

Boston outshot the Sabres by a 45-24 margin in the loss and also went 0-for-2 on the power play.

“We had chances, we had shots,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said. “Those are the dangerous situations to be in, when a team hangs around.”

The Bruins are beginning a three-game road trip tonight and forward David Krejci has joined the club for the trek. Krejci has been sidelined since Feb. 20 with a partially torn ligament in his left knee. He is not expected to play tonight but he could return to action this weekend in either Saturday’s test against Florida or Sunday’s game versus Tampa Bay.

The centerman has battled injury during a disappointing 2014-15 campaign in which he has posted only seven goals and 19 assists through 38 games. Krejci led the club with 69 points last season before signing a lucrative six-year extension in the offseason.

Boston, which sits four points behind Detroit for third place in the Atlantic Division, is 15-13-5 as the road club this season.

Source: SportsNetwork.com

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