There are a number of games on the schedule tonight that may affect the Senators and their run t clinching a playoff spot. Here are the games and also what result would benefit the Senators the most.
FLORIDA @ CAROLINA – The Hurricanes sit tied with Winnipeg for first in the Southeast Division, and are four points behind Ottawa. Either the Canes or Jets will win the Southeast, while the other will be battling for a playoff spot.
IDEAL OUTCOME: Florida wins in regulation. The Panthers are not a factor in the playoff race, and the Sens would benefit from a Carolina loss.
NEW YORK RANGERS @ NEW JERSEY – The Rangers sit 9th and the Devils tied for 6th with Toronto and Winnipeg. Both are chasing the Senators and are 6 and 4 points respectively behind the Senators. For my money, the further behind the Rangers stay, the better, as they are the cutoff point for the playoffs at the moment.
IDEAL OUTCOME: New Jersey in a regulation win. A three point game would be the worst outcome.
BOSTON @ WINNIPEG: While the Bruins appear to be home and cooled for a top 4 seed, the Jets are battling for positioning on two fronts, just like the Canes above. Again, let the Bruins run away with things.
IDEAL OUTCOME: Boston regulation win.
There are two other games involving Eastern Conference teams, but neither Buffalo/Montreal or Washington/Pittsburgh has an impact on the Senators playoff chances at the moment. Montreal might eventually com into the picture, but as of now are in that group of top 3 that have separated themselves from the pack. Ditto Pittsburgh, and they show no signs of slowing down. Washington and Buffalo are 11 and 12 points behind the Senators respectively and are not a factor to their chances.