Thursday April 5th, 2012
SNET, Team 1200
7th East (41-29-10) VS. 2nd East (47-29-4)
Now in the final week, the Senators will be playing their second last game of the year, and their last at Scotiabank Place. They face their Northeast rivals, the Boston Bruins for final time (at least during the regular season anyways), having gone 1-4-0 against them so far. The most recent was the one win however, a 1-0 shutout victory for Robin Lehner and the Ottawa Senators.
Boston has already clinched the Northeast division and are guaranteed to finish second place in the East, meaning the will take on whoever finishes 7th place in the first round of playoffs. Right now, that’s the Ottawa Senators, and it’s quite likely to remain that way. Today may not be a good preview of the potential series however since with Boston’s position unable to change they are opting to sit some of their biggest talents to give them some rest before playoffs.
Though they’ve clinched their playoff spot already, these final two games will be important to getting the Sens in playoff form. The Ottawa Senators certainly need to play better than they did last game, as they fell 2-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday. It took them over 59 minutes to get a single goal on Cam Ward and the Canes. It’s not often offense is the issue for the Sens. In fact, they sit 4th overall in the league in goals per game, an impressive feat, and a big reason why they were able to surprise everyone in making playoffs this season.
Boston is also coming of a loss, being defeated 5-3 by the Pittsburgh Penguins on home ice. They, like the Sens, have had no trouble finding the back of the net and and are 3rd overall in goals per game. But they’ve come to see even 3 goals isn’t always enough with a goaltender sporting a 3.68 like Marty Turco now does. Turco has now allowed 16 goals in just over 260 minutes of action over his 5 games. Even with Thomas not making the trip, and Rask still injured, it doesn’t appear Turco will get the start again tonight. Anton Khudobin was first off the ice this morning and is the most likely starter for the Bruins. It would be his first NHL appearance of the year.
Claude Julien and Boston have made the choice of not taking their biggest stars on this trip to rest them for playoffs, meaning Tim Thomas, Zdeno Chara, and Patrice Bergeron all stayed behind. Ottawa however will continue to roll their top players and lines as usual with the exception of Craig Anderson, who will sit in favour of Ben Bishop.
Players To Watch
Ottawa: Jason Spezza – Spezza is currently on a 5 game point streak, picking up 4 goals and 4 assists in that span. He had an assist on the only Sens goal in their last game versus Boston, and has 43 points in 49 career games against the Bruins. Spezza also leads the Sens in points this season with 83 in 78 games.
Boston: Tyler Seguin - Seguin has had a very impressive sophomore season and at just 20 years old, leads his team in scoring with 65 points. He is also tied with Brad Marchand for the lead in goals with 27.