BRUINS at SENATORS
7:30 p.m. ET; USA, SN, TVA Sports, NESN
Ottawa leads best-of-7 series 3-1
OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators can eliminate the Boston Bruins with a win in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference First Round series at Canadian Tire Centre on Friday.
The Senators won 1-0 in Game 4 at Boston on Wednesday. It was the fourth straight game decided by one goal.
The Bruins are 0-22 all-time when trailing 3-1 in a best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series. The Senators are 14-7 in the fifth game of a playoff series.
A win would give the Senators their first series victory since 2013 and their second since they went to the Stanley Cup Final in 2007.
Here are five keys to Game 5:
1. Bruins must slow Erik Karlsson
Karlsson, Ottawa's captain and top defenseman, has had an assist on five of the Senators' 10 goals in the series, and three of the assists have been highlight-reel quality. Boston forward David Backes said the Bruins haven't made life tough enough for Karlsson. "I think we passed up a few hits the last game," Backes said. "Even if it's uncharacteristic for a guy to be throwing bodies around there, that's what we need at this time. [Karlsson has] been a huge factor in their offense. He's a heck of a player, but we need a buy-in from everyone to try and slow him down and make him earn every second that he's on the ice which is a lot of time, most of the games." Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said he wants the Bruins to protect the puck better in the attacking zone so Karlsson doesn't have a chance to get on offense.
2. Matching Boston's intensity
With the Bruins facing elimination, the Senators can count on seeing a desperate team. "They are going to play like they have nothing to lose, and that's usually the most dangerous way to play so we've got to try and match that," Karlsson said. "We've got to come out strong. I don't think we've played our best game yet so far in this series. We've got to make sure it's our best game tonight. That's what we want to accomplish here. This is going to be the hardest game for us to win."
3. Senators want fast start
Ottawa coach Guy Boucher said he has put the emphasis on the first 10 minutes of Game 5 and wants the Senators to pick up where they left off in Game 4. Ottawa allowed five shots in each of the second and third periods of Game 4. "A good start for us is what we did in the third period in Boston," Boucher said. "That's our good start. We gave away too many scoring chances in the first period, especially [Brad] Marchand's line. Some parts of the second period were a little too wide-open for us. I think our game is what we saw in the third period. That's where we're consistent, that's where we look good. If we can start the first 10 minutes like that … that's our focus today. We went to have a good first 10 minutes and the rest, we're not even focusing on the rest."
4. Bruins must win slot battles
Cassidy said the Bruins have changed their game plan somewhat to deal with the Senators' 1-3-1 neutral-zone play, but said Boston's chances of winning Game 5 come down to winning individual battles. "Ottawa plays a certain way and you have to make necessary adjustments so you can have success without upsetting everything," Cassidy said. "I still think most of these games comes down to the will at the puck, on the puck, around the puck. We just have to have that. We've got to outwill them at the puck to win pucks. Once we have it, we have to outwill them at the net to get our second chances and we have to outwill them in our slot area. We've talked about that all year. Win the slot battle." Sean Kuraly, a more physical forward, will take center Ryan Spooner's place in the lineup.
5. Kelly gets his chance
Senators forward Chris Kelly, scratched for the first four games, will replace Tom Pyatt, who sustained an upper-body injury when he was hit by Boston defenseman Kevan Miller early in Game 4. Pyatt played 17:58 in Game 1 and in the 13-minute range in Games 2 and 3. Kelly, a 36-year-old who was a member of the Bruins from 2011-16, played 82 games in the regular season. "He's a guy that I hated to take out, for the all reasons," Boucher said. "He's a terrific person, a great professional and he's helped us all year. He's been outstanding in our room. That was probably the toughest thing I had to do this year was to sit him out, not because he's not doing a good job, just because the other guys that were available were ahead of him. For the first time of the year we had a full team. It was no fun to do that, so to have him back is exciting for me."
Bruins projected lineup
Zdeno Chara -- Charlie McAvoy
Joe Morrow -- Kevan Miller
Scratched: Joe Morrow, Matt Beleskey , Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Ryan Spooner
Senators projected lineup
Marc Methot -- Erik Karlsson
Ben Harpur -- Chris Wideman
Injured : Mark Borowiecki (lower body), Tom Pyatt (upper body)
Cassidy said Spooner wasn't 100 percent physically, but that wasn't the reason for the lineup change. "We liked Sean's game up here," Cassidy said of Kuraly, who played Games 1 and 2. "He's good on getting on pucks and forecheck is how we're able to create some of our offense and he gives us that. We'll see how that plays out."
Pasternak has three points (one goal, two assists) in the series. Bergeron and Backes each have two points (one goal, one assist). … Ryan has five points (three goals, two assists) during a four-game point streak. Brassard has five points (two goals, three assists) in the series, and Karlsson has five assists.
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