The Senators have just 16 games left in this shortened NHL regular season. They currently sit entrenched in the 5th spot of the Eastern Conference. They are 5 points behind the Canadiens for the division lead (though the Habs have a game in hand) and are 3 points behind the Bruins for home ice, but again, Boston has 2 games in hand.
And what do these three teams have in common, other than being the teams directly behind the Senators in the Eastern Conference standings? They are the three teams on tap for the Senators, starting tonight with New Jersey. This means that a big week could go a long way to ensuring a playoff spot for the pesky Sens. Let's take a look at the week ahead.
New Jersey: Well, Martin Brodeur is scoring goals again, which is good because Ilya Kovalchuk is hurt for the next 2-4 weeks. David Clarkson's hot start is a thing of the past, and against Ottawa's ability to limit goals against, the Devils may be in tough. This is the first game after losing Kovy, and remember how poorly Ottawa played in the first game after losing Erik Karlsson? Like Ottawa's chances here.
New York: Wow, who would have thought the mighty would fall so far? Picked as Cup favourites before the season, they are just barely holding on to a playoff spot. They play stingy defence though, so it will be a good test for Ottawa's rebooted offence.
Toronto: After Anton Khudobin shut the door and was the difference maker for the Bruins against Ottawa, he went out and allowed 3 goals on 11 shots against Toronto. Such BS. Anyways, Toronto continues to play their style: fights in the first period and plenty of run support for their improved goaltending. They hold the season series 2-1 against Ottawa, so it is important for the Sens to get the win Saturday in front of the national CBC audience.
I think the Sens go 2-1 this week, with wins against NJ and TO, what about you?
- My favourite feature on the site returns: it's Ups and Downs! Guillaume Latendresse gets some love, as well as most of the D core. [SSS]
- If you missed this game this weekend, here is the recap for the win against the Lightning. I was lucky enough to be at the game, and was really impressed with Silfverberg in particular. [SSS]
- The Tenderness gets some MSM love too. I particularly like the comment he makes about how much he loves playing in Ottawa. Thats good for other UFAs to hear. [SE]
- Apparently the Senators are "sniffing around" a potential Jay Bouwmeester acquisition. Love the thoughts from Nichols here. [6thSens]
- Prediction panel for tonight features a healthy dose of optimism. Besides, Peter says we win, SO WE WIN. [SE]
- Lots of talk recently about Robin Lehner's displays of emotion. Don Brennan talked with him about it after the 2-1 loss to the Boston Bruins, and it's worth reading. [Sun]
- The beasts of the East add another piece. Brenden Morrow to the Penguins. [PD]
- What We Learned (or as I like to call it "Angry 30 Thoughts") with some thoughts on the Bruins and a backhanded compliment at Ottawa. [PD]
- And the piece de resistance, 30 thoughts itself. [CBC]