The Ottawa Senators may have stumbled down the stretch, but key wins over the Bruins and Rangers have secured their playoff spot.
In a game I was lucky enough to attend, the Sens secured their divisional spot with a victory over the Rangers. The Leafs lost their final game, which means the Sens will face off against the Boston Bruins for the first time in their history.
The Senators and Bruins are both making their return to the playoffs after an absence of one and two years respectively. With that in mind both teams will be hungry to shed the status of pretender and prove their selves as contenders. A lucky draw for both teams in a somewhat unfair playoff format puts both teams are in a strong position. Anything short of a series victory is unacceptable for either team. As the true sixth and seventh seeds in the conference, both teams must take advantage of this opportunity.
Adversity Down the Stretch
As the final month of the season winded down there were points where both teams looked like they could miss the playoffs entirely. The Bruins went on a four game loss streak near the end of March. The Sens lost five in a row as the calendar turned to April. Despite this by the end of the season both teams were able to recover and win some very important games to not only make the playoffs but secure a divisional spot.
Injuries are Key
Any preview of this series has to include the injuries. Both teams were decimated by injuries near the end of the season. The Bruins are likely to be without both Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo. They make up for half of the Bruins top four on defence. As for the Senators, somehow this team could start the playoffs with a healthy lineup. The biggest question mark is Methot, but Karlsson, Ryan, Smith, Ceci, and MacArthur have all either returned or are expected to be in the lineup for game one. The Sens look healthy and the Bruins injured, things could be looking up for Ottawa.
Head to Head Match-up
The Sens have dominated the Bruins this year, winning all four games between the two clubs. While this may give Sens fans confidence, regular season results should be taken with a grain of salt. Every game was close as the Sens never won by more than two goals. This series will be grind for both teams and could end with bad blood reminiscent of recent series versus Montreal.
Nothing is certain in the playoffs. Anyone can win on any night. The Senators need four to get past the big bad Bruins. The stars look to be aligning with everybody returning from injury including someone no one expected in Clarke MacArthur. You need sixteen to win it all but let’s start with four.
The Pesky Sens are back and they’re #ALLIN
Senators to win it in 6.