Game 78 preview: Ottawa Senators @ New York Rangers

USA TODAY Sports

A preview of the game between the Ottawa Senators and the New York Rangers on 5 April 2014.

Five games. That is what we have left before this season from hell finishes. At this point it is unclear what is the status of players like Ales Hemsky and Jared Cowen.

Robin Lehner is likely to start and here is the lineup that played last night.

Michalek - Spezza - Hemsky
MacArthur - Turris - Stone
Zibanejad - Smith - Neil
Hoffman - Pageau - Condra

Methot - Karlsson
Phillips - Gryba
Wiercioch - Ceci

Lehner (starter)
Anderson

Some notes for tonight:

  • Things look bad right now but it is important to remember they are at least not as bad right now as they appear. Sure it appears that players give up on plays at times but it is hard to give it your all when there is nothing on the line. They are professionals but I am just saying everyone should be more focused when games matter again in October.
  • These games are like an early preseason so if the finish becomes even more ugly, it doesn't really mean a whole lot. The same thing if the team finishes strong, that is not a sign of momentum going into next season with several months off in between.
  • What it is used as should be just to give young players some playing time. The games might not mean much to Ottawa but they do their opponents. It is a chance to test their young players against NHL quality opposition that you can't get in preseason.
  • This should mean that Robin Lehner plays at least three of the final five games. Maybe Mika Zibanejad can be used in the top six. Patrick Wiercioch can be used in tougher situations. Jean-Gabriel Pageau can be given more ice time as well.
  • Not that Paul MacLean appears to have been overly concerned with winning lately, but the goal should be about development more than winning for the remainder of the season. The message sending should be done.
  • For the official record, the Senators will be eliminated if Lumbus picks up more points tomorrow than Ottawa does today.
  • Erik Karlsson has gone three straight games without a point for the first time all season.
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