With just about every expert predicting a New York Rangers win in Round One, the Ottawa Senators are back in their familiar role as underdog.
And while some Sens fans might be concerned that every expert is siding with the Rangers, they can and should take comfort in the fact that these were the same “experts” that had the Sens near the bottom of the pack before the season started.
On Thursday night, the Ottawa Senators will open their first round series against the New York Rangers as significant underdogs.
Afterall, the Rangers were the best team in the East for most of the season. They finished just two points back of first in the entire NHL, they are extremely well coached and they have one of the best goalies in the game. But this is the Stanley Cup playoffs, and as we know, anything can and will happen.
After three consecutive losses to close out their season, including an ugly loss to the Devils in their season finale, the Ottawa Senators have slipped into eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
And thanks to that slide in the standings, the Sens will now open the Stanley Cup playoffs against the number one seed in the East, Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers
With the NHL regular season now down to its final game, the Ottawa Senators first round opponent remains undecided.
The Sens had a chance to book a first round ticket with the Bruins with a win tonight but instead they ran into a hot goalie and came up short in the final regular season home game. Next time SBP sees NHL hockey, it will be Game 3 in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
With the start of the NHL playoffs now just a week away, the Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators will meet at Scotiabank Place, in what could end up being a first round preview.
And while there is still an outside chance the Sens match up with the Rangers in Round 1, you can bet that Paul MacLean's group will be eager to send a message against the team that could stand in their way when the dust settles at the end of the regular season.
(UPDATE 8:10 AM)- Just about to head out to catch the morning skate scheduled for 10:15 AM. The message for me is simple, don't do or say anything stupid. Could be a challenge. Will try to update the blog afterwards but be sure to keep an eye on @SensChirp on Twitter for updates throughout the morning.
With the NHL playoffs now just three short games and a little over a week away, the Ottawa Senators first round opponent is yet to be determined.
And while the percentages seem to strongly suggest it will be a first round battle with the Bruins, there are still games left to play and that includes tonight’s home game against Eric Staal and the Carolina Hurricanes.
(UPDATE 3:40 PM)- According to Steve Lloyd of the Team 1200, Bryan Murray indicated that he would like to bring Mika Zibanejad and Jakob Silfverberg over in time for playoffs. Zibanejad would likely see games in Binghamton while there is a chance Silfverberg could actually see playoff action with the Senators, depending on when he is available to join the team.
In the minutes leading up to puck drop, the Senators learned that Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson would both be out of the line up in a game where they had an opportunity to lock up a playoff spot.
The Sens responded to the challenge, playing a text book road game and topping the Islanders 5-1. With the win, the Ottawa Senators have punched their ticket to the playoffs ten days from now.
After yesterday's 4-3 shootout win over the Flyers, combined with a Buffalo Sabres loss at the hands of the Maple Leafs, the Sens have a chance to do something few thought they would at the start of the season.
With a win today over the New York Islanders, the Ottawa Senators can book their spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.