As the Sens prepare to take on the Rangers tonight, a lot is on the line. Sportsclubstats.com has the Senators with 6.1% chance to make the playoffs and as small as that chance may be, it will be even smaller should they lose to the Blue Shirts of New York, who currently occupy the 8th and final playoff spot in the East.
It's a chance for the Senators to gain ground on a team they're chasing. It's a true 4 point game. If the Sens can pull out a regulation victory tonight, they'd pull within 5 point of the final playoff spot, with 14 games remaining. Not an easy road by any means, but somewhat doable. Should they lose and drop to 9 points behind, stick a fork in them, they'll be unofficially, officially done.
The other positive news to note if you're a Sens fan, is almost all the teams we're chasing are in action against fairly elite teams tonight. The Boston Bruins take on the NJ Devils, the Caps are out West to take on one of the league's best teams in Anaheim, and the real conflict of interest in Ottawa, as the Leafs take on Detroit. Can you put aside your Toronto hate for a night and actively cheer for the Provincial rivals? If you want to see post season hockey, you'd better. The only blemish tonight is the tied for 8th seeded Columbus Blue Jackets, who take on the dreadful Carolina Hurricanes.
If things fall right tonight, and the Senators can take care of business at home, things will be A LOT brighter than they appeared to be yesterday. Still not even remotely close to a sure thing, but slow motion is better than no motion right? It will be a big step towards at least playing meaningful games the rest of the way if they can climb back to within 5 points of a playoff berth with 14 games to play.
The bad news? Unfortunately we haven't seen much evidence the Senators are capable of handling their business and grabbing the regulation 2 points today as of late. With only 3 wins in their last 10 at the crunch time of the NHL season, even the most optimistic Sens fans would be cautious tonight.
Not helping matters is Craig Anderson remains unavailable for action, which leaves the suddenly shaky Robin Lehner in net once again. He will need a much better performance is we're to claim victory tonight. No other changes to the lineup tonight.
Can the Sens get it done? We'll see, but at this point they sort of have to, don't they?
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