The Ottawa Senators will play their last two games before the all-star break tonight in Los Angeles and tomorrow night Kyle Turris will return to Phoenix for the first time. The Senators have gone 2-1 on the current road trip after going 3-0 on a road trip last week. Clearly, this stretch of road games did not derail the season, and one has to think the Senators will continue to stay in playoff contention. After the all-star break, the Senators will play one more road game in Boston, and then 17 of their last 29 games will be at home. Only once will they leave the eastern time zone (Winnipeg) and two separate 3-game road trips will be the only trips longer than two games.
The schedule will definitely be easier towards the end of the season, but where can Ottawa expect to finish? The Senators are still 9 points clear of 9th place Toronto albeit with three more games played. One point a game (or 14-14-4 for example) would leave the Senators with approximately a 95% chance of a playoff spot.
It is unlikely that Ottawa passes Philadelphia for fourth, or hold off Pittsburgh for fifth. A sixth place finish would likely leave the Senators playing a Washington Capitals team that Ottawa has failed to beat in three tries this season but generally played well against. If Florida ends up winning the division, Ottawa might even end up as slight favourites.
Oh and...GO PATS! :)
Here are today's links:
- Erik Karlsson was obviously not happy about being called out as a diver. He says he has never taken a dive in his career. I recall him doing it once or twice, but every player does that. (Ottawa Sun, Senators Extra)
- Ian Mendes went through every Erik Karlsson penalty in his career and found out that he had been called for diving only once. However, that one game, plus the one in Anaheim and then the game in San Jose where Patrick Marleau bloodied Erik Karlsson with an elbow, that's three separate officiating crews who might think Karlsson is a diver. Could this be be something that plagues him? (Sportsnet)
- Karlsson for his part then tries to give the referees an olive branch by saying everyone makes mistakes. Probably for the best not to keep calling them out I guess. Karlsson also calls Alfie a young one. Lastly, Alfie gets a haircut in Los Angeles at a place that Rod Stewart visited. (Ottawa Sun)
- Jason Spezza is proud that the Senators have gone over two months without losing consecutive games in regulation. Ottawa's been very consistent for a while haven't they? (Ottawa Sun)
- The Senators playoff chances are near Boston Red Sox levels in September. What could go wrong!? (Senators Extra)
- Another Boston Red Sox reference here... (Ottawa Citizen)
- Bryan Murray just finished his annual scouting meeting where he discussed which players might be available around the league. As a great Scottish knight once, it's squeaky bum time. (Ottawa Citizen)
- Paul MacLean was a goal scorer in his day and wasn't asked to back check. But it is a different game now. (Ottawa Citizen)
- Bobby Butler and Mark Borowiecki will return to the lineup tonight, Andre Petersson and Matt Carkner will be the scratches. (Allen Panzeri)
If the Senators hang on to a playoff spot, who would you prefer to meet in the first round?