Spezza: 'Benchmark' game for Sens

The Senators will need a strong season from Jason Spezza. (Errol McGihon/QMI Agency)

The Senators will need a strong season from Jason Spezza. (Errol McGihon/QMI Agency)

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:33 PM ET

BOSTON - Coach Claude Julien admitted he’s getting tired of the questions.

Where are the breakdowns occuring for his Boston Bruins?

“Everywhere,” said Julien.

The Bruins are going to have to match the energy and work ethic of the Senators when the two teams meet at TD Garden Tuesday night, Julien added after his team’s optional morning skate.

While the Senators will be looking for their seventh straight win, the defending Cup champs are in a funk. They’re last in the East. They’ve won just once in their past five games. And they’ve only scored more than two goals in two of their 10 games thus far.

Still, their lineup is very similar to the one that outlasted the Vancouver Canucks in a seven-game final last spring.

“We’re not as good as we think we are,” said Julien. “And we’re not as bad as we seem.”

The Senators haven’t won seven in a row since a franchise-best 11 game run from Jan. 14-Feb. 4, 2010.

Facing the Bruins in Boston is a big deal to them.

“It’s a benchmark game for sure,” Jason Spezza said in the visitors dressing room. “We think they’re one of the best teams in the East. I don’t care what the standings say. They’re Stanley Cup champions. They have some great players. Three deep lines. Six real good defencemen and one of the best goalies in the league. This isn’t a team you take lightly. This is an arena that’s hard come to play in. They clog things up and make it hard on you. For us, we have to make sure we’re at the top of our game or else they can make it a long night for you.”

The goaltending matchup will see Craig Anderson facing Tim Thomas.

Brian Lee will miss his eighth game as a healthy scratch, with coach Paul MacLean reluctant to break up defence pairings that are now working well.

The Senators line combos at the morning skate were as follows:

Colin Greening-Jason Spezza-Milan Michalek

Nick Foligno-Stephane Da Costa-Bobby Butler

Erik Condra-Zack Smith-Chris Neil

Zenon Konopka-Jesse Winchester-Nikita Filatov.


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