After two big wins over the past weekend the Ottawa Senators have put themselves in good position to make the playoffs, but they need to keep winning and piling up points if they hope to hold off the two teams chasing them. Ottawa will look to do just that when they take on the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday afternoon.
The teams chasing Ottawa to playoffs haven’t been making things any easier for them.
The Washington Capitals took two big points last night from a game against the Boston Bruins pulling them within two points of Ottawa, and tying them with the red hot Buffalo Sabres. Both Ottawa and Buffalo hold a game in hand over the Capitals, but games in hand only matter if you win them.
Buffalo has been the hottest team in the NHL down the stretch. They are currently riding a five game winning streak, and are 7-1-2 over their past 10 games. The Sabres will face a big hurdle tonight when they play host to Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Senators have been idle since their 6-4 win over the Winnipeg Jets Monday. Paul MacLean has tried to keep his team sharp by putting them through two 45 minute practices on Wednesday. MacLean said he wanted the players to feel like they had played a game on the day, and hopefully the innovative tactic will pay off for the coach.
Ottawa sports a 1-4-1 record in games after they have had three, or more days of rest this season. They will have had four days off by the time they drop the puck in Philly.
MacLean indicated that he would leave his roster alone as he met with reporters before the team traveled to Pennsylvania. That means Matt Carkner will suit up for his third straight game while newcomer Matt Gilroy remains a healthy scratch along with forward Bobby Butler.
Craig Anderson will start in goal, and there is no reason to think he will get any rest for the remainder of the year with Ben Bishop on the shelf, and Alex Auld sitting on the bench. Anderson gives the Senators their best chance to win, and seems to be getting his game in order after a four week layoff with a lacerated pinkie finger.