NHL Playoff Push: Must-win for the Senators

Ottawa Senators right wing Bobby Ryan (6) skates against New Jersey Devils right wing Steve Bernier (18) and right wing Jordin Tootoo (20). (Julio Cortez/AP)

The NHL playoff push is our daily look back and ahead at the post-season picture as teams position themselves for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.


If the season ended today…

(A1) vs. (WC2)

(M1) vs. (WC1)

(A2) vs. (A3)

(M2) vs. (M3)

Note: The NHL changed the playoff format last season. Click here for full details.

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 12.19.46 AM

Series we’d love to see: Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins — This classic hockey rivalry deserves to be on the big stage of the playoffs.

What’d I miss? The Tampa Bay Lightning completed their five-game season sweep of the Canadiens — the first time they’ve managed the feat in franchise history. The 5-3 victory also earned the Lightning a playoff berth, and brought them just one point behind the Canadiens for the top spot in the Atlantic Division.

Tuesday’s game to watch: Ottawa Senators vs. Detroit Red Wings: After three straight losses left the Senators outside of the playoffs, they desperately need a win to keep pace for a chance at a wild card.

The rest of Tuesday’s sked:

– Florida Panthers vs. Boston Bruins: Four points — and the Ottawa Senators — separate these two teams. This match-up will go a long way in determining wild card status.

– Carolina Hurricanes vs. Washington Capitals: League scoring leader Alex Ovechkin is coming off a two-goal game versus the New York Rangers.

– Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Toronto Maple Leafs: The Lightning are closing in on Montreal. A win over lowly Toronto would help their case.

– New York Rangers vs. Winnipeg Jets: The Rangers have been held to just two goals in their last two games — both losses.

Fun fact: Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop had two assists versus the Montreal Canadiens, becoming the first goaltender in franchise history to do so.


If the season ended today…

(P1) vs. (WC2)

(C1) vs. (WC1)

(C2) vs. (C3)

(P2) vs. (P3)

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 12.20.53 AM

Series we’d love to see: Anaheim Ducks vs. Winnipeg Jets — The Anaheim Ducks have been solid all season, but there’s something to be said about the way the resilient Jets have been playing of late. Could the Ducks be in for an early upset?

What’d I miss? The Vancouver Canucks opened up a four-game road trip with an important 4-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. The struggling Blues, who have won just one of their last six contests, could have clinched a playoff berth with a win… The Los Angeles Kings’ recent three-game winning streak seems like a thing of the distant past. The Kings suffered a 4-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks and remain outside the playoff picture. The Blackhawks now have a three-point cushion ahead of the red-hot Minnesota Wild for third place in the Central division… The Calgary Flames earned a crucial 5-3 win over the Dallas Stars to maintain the playoff pace and stay in third place in the Pacific.

Tuesday’s game to watch: New York Rangers vs. Winnipeg Jets: The Jets need to rebound after a heartbreaking loss to the Blackhawks Sunday night. The Blackhawks also held off the Kings Monday, which means the Jets are still clinging onto a wild card spot.

The rest of Tuesday’s sked:

– Vancouver Canucks vs. Nashville Predators: The last meeting of these teams (Jan. 13) was a 5-1 blowout in favour of the Predators.

Fun fact: Calgary Flames’ Jiri Hudler leads the NHL with 23 points in the month of March.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.