Game 82: Ottawa Senators @ New Jersey Devils

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The Ottawa Senators have come a long way. The season started with a 5-3 loss in Detroit on 7 October 2011 (exactly six months ago) and the Senators would allow five goals or more in four of their first six games. Ottawa was 1-5-0 after the first six games and had just been torched 7-1 at home by Philadelphia. However, the Senators would go on to win the next six games and would stay in the playoff hunt for the remainder of the season.

The regular season will draw to an end today but the Senators season will not. Today's game doesn't mean too much but it will help decide their playoff opponents.

Scenario 1: Ottawa plays Boston in round one if:

  • Ottawa picks up a point against New Jersey, OR...
  • Washington loses to the New York Rangers, OR...
  • Florida loses in regulation to Carolina.
Scenario 2: Ottawa plays New York in round one if:
  • Ottawa loses in regulation to New Jersey, AND...
  • Washington beats the New York Rangers, AND...
  • Florida picks up at least one point against Carolina.
It is unclear what will be the lineup today, but we do know that Chris Neil will not play after he injured himself in practise yesterday.

More after the jump.

Here are some things to discuss for today:

  • Effort level: How much will either team care? Will it be similar to a preseason game?
  • Personal milestones: Erik Karlsson needs one goal to reach 20 and two points to reach 80. Daniel Alfredsson needs a hat trick to reach 30 goals and a single point to reach 60. Jason Spezza has 34 goals, which he has reached twice before. If he does manage to score, it will set a new career high. Spezza has a six game points streak and has scored a goal in five of those six games.
  • Dominating the Atlantic division: The Atlantic division has four teams with 100+ points but that hasn't kept Ottawa from beating up on them. The Senators own a 12-4-3 record against the division. The Devils are the only team that Ottawa hasn't beaten at least twice. Yet.
  • Great road record: The Senators will be starting the playoffs on the road but they have a 21-13-6 record on the road. Should Ottawa win today, they will end up with 50 points on the road, good for 5th most in the NHL. They are currently tied for 6th most. By contrast, Ottawa has the 6th worst home record in the league.
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