The Ottawa Senators are closing in on official elimination as the Montréal Canadiens and their simpleminded fans come to town. With six games left in the season, Ottawa is seven points behind Lumbus and eight points behind Detroit for the final playoff spot. If the Senators lose in regulation today and tomorrow in New York, they will be eliminated if both Columbus and Detroit pick up a point.
There aren't a lot of reasons to keep watching unless you really love the Ottawa Senators and realise that by the end of weekend after this one we won't get to see them again for several months. Jason Spezza will return tonight and Jean-Gabriel Pageau will also play meaning that I have no clue what the lines will be, but here is a guess.
Michalek - Spezza - Hemsky
MacArthur - Turris - Stone
Zibanejad - Smith - Neil
Hoffman - Pageau - Condra
Methot - Karlsson
Phillips - Gryba
Wiercioch - Ceci
Some notes for tonight:
- I am typing this from a phone so I apologise if I make even less sense than usual.
- Jason Spezza will return tonight. There are two ways to think of this. Why risk him aggravating the injury with the season very close to officially over? On the other hand it is close to officially over, not officially over. Also it should be remembered that teams are less likely to trade for a Spezza that ended the season injured.
- I expected that Erik Karlsson was just having a below average game against Carolina but he also didn't look much better against the Islanders. Is it an injury? Is it exhaustion as he's suggested? Given that no one wants to trade him except Don Brennan and perhaps a few fans, it might make even more sense to shutdown Karlsson for the year.
- On to the game in hand, I am sure memories of the great collapse against the Habs are fresh in the players' minds. The most painful part of a very painful season.
- I am sure there are things some of you can look forward to. I don't really have much. Perhaps hurting the Habs push for home ice in round one.
- Tonight's game will be on CBC.
- Patrick Wiercioch continues to look very good and is just one of many things that Paul MacLean has gotten horribly wrong this year.
- Which one of Pageau, Zibanejad or Smith will play on the wing tonight?