Let the road trip begin! With one opponent close in the standings and 2 near the bottom, it's an important week if we want to see home ice advantage. The Sens don't have the best road record (2nd worst out of Eastern teams in a playoff position to start the week) so this could be the start of a challenging stretch and makes the hunt for home ice that much more important.
Game 36 - Senators at Bruins
The first stop on our tour, and likely the most difficult, is Boston. Win, and the Sens draw back within 2 points of Boston for 4th. Lose in regulation, and they lose the tiebreaker keeping them in 5th.
The Bruins have been faltering a bit recently, with a L10 record of 5-4-1 and some ugly performances over the weekend. Though only 4 of those 10 games were at home, and they went 3-0-1 in those.
Patrice Bergeron continues to lead the Bruins in points, and is a beast in faceoffs with a 61.3%. He and his line mates Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin are the undisputed top line with 31, 28 and 25 points respectively, though they have been held off the scoreboard for the last 2 games. The 2nd line of David Krejci, Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic have come on strong picking up that short term slack, with Krejci tied for 2nd in points for the team, and Horton and Lucic both at 20 points on the season so far.
Game 37 - Senators at Sabres
The fire sale might be on in Buffalo, despite being only 3 points out of 8th. Jordan Leopold has already been sent to St. Louis for picks, and it's difficult to say who the Sens will face come Friday. Any moves the Sabres are likely to only make them weaker in the short term with an eye for long term gain.
Thomas Vanek is unlikely to be moved, but has been in and out of the lineup since going down in the March 19th game against Montreal. With only 1 other game this week, there's a reasonable chance he will be in on Friday. Cody Hodgson would benefit from that, as he was inexplicably demoted to the 4th line against Boston.
Game 38 - Senators at Panthers
The fire sale might be on in Sunrise too, but the Panthers have yet to make any moves.
Jonathan Huberdeau is definitely the key to this team going forward and is making a serious run at the Calder. He is leading the team in points, as well as all rookies in goals and points. Tomas Fleischmann is a close 2nd for the team, and it may be tough to move him with his NMC and so-so contract. Shawn Matthias has been coming out of late, and has managed to become a major part of the team in recent weeks.
The Panthers play Saturday at home to Washington, and the Sens always seem to play well at the BB&T Center so a win will hopefully be on the books for this one.