A night after a home ice win over their divisional rival Toronto Maple Leafs, the Ottawa Senators play the final game of the 2013-2014 regular season tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Playoffs were the goal for this team and in the end they fall a few points short. Everything that could go wrong for this team did it seemed but inconsistent defensive play, significant goaltender regression and questionable player deployment are all to blame for a disappointing season. There’s a strong core in place here in Ottawa but still some really important decisions to make this off season.
If you’re looking for positives in this disappointing season, it’s the way the team has played down the stretch. They’ve won four straight and seven of their last nine but the hole they dug themselves was just too deep. You know they would love to end their season with another win over the playoff-bound Pittsburgh Penguins.
After tonight, the next time we see our Ottawa Senators, they may look entirely different. The top line, in Michalek-Spezza-Hemsky all face uncertain futures heading into the off season. There are as many as 8 or 9 defenceman in the organization that seem ready for the NHL level, which likely means someone could be on the way out. There’s also a desperate need for another top pairing blueliner. And remarkably, the defending Coach of the Year is on the hot seat. Changes are coming, one way or another.
No word on today’s line up just yet but I would suspect we’ll see a similar line up to the one that beat the Leafs last night which would mean Matt Kassian remains a healthy scratch. No morning skate so we’ll have to wait until game time to see how MacLean lines them up.
Robin Lehner is expected to get the start in the Ottawa goal. Tonight’s game can be seen on TSN with puck drop scheduled for just after 7:30 PM