It's a fair bet that no one who scratched out pre-season predictions would have placed the Ottawa Senators and Boston Bruins where they are today.

The Senators, a near unanimous pick to finish in one of the bottom three slots of the Eastern Conference, are in fourth and on a six-game winning streak.

The defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins, by contrast, have seen nothing but woe so far. They've lost their last three, are 2-5-0 at home and 1-2-0 on the road.

So tonight's game here at TD Garden represents a pivotal moment for both teams. The sub-plots are enticing. Consider:

Can the Senators keep playing as well as they have, or do they let success go to their heads?

Can the Bruins turn the corner with a win and take some pressure off beleaguered coach Claude Julien?

If the Senators continue to play as well as they have, they could be one of the league's most compelling stories this season.