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Bruins chase Northeast crown against Senators

by Brian Compton /

SENATORS (24-17-6) at BRUINS (28-13-6)


Last 10: Ottawa 5-5-0; Boston 4-4-2

Season series: This is the fifth of five meetings and the final game of the NHL’s regular season. The Boston Bruins are aiming for a series sweep of the Ottawa Senators.

Big story: The final game of the NHL regular season will determine the final three Stanley Cup Playoff matchups in the Eastern Conference.

The Bruins can win the Northeast Division with any type of victory at TD Garden. If they lose, the Montreal Canadiens claim the crown and the Bruins will finish fourth in the Eastern Conference. If the Senators get one point, they will move from eighth to seventh in the East.

If Boston wins in regulation, the Bruins face the New York Islanders in the first round while Ottawa meets the Pittsburgh Penguins. Montreal Canadiens takes on the Toronto Maple Leafs in the other undetermined matchup in the Eastern Conference.

If Boston wins in overtime or a shootout, the Bruins' first-round opponent will be the Senators and Pittsburgh will take on the Islanders. Montreal and Toronto remains the four-vs.-five matchup in the East.

If Ottawa wins in any fashion, it faces Montreal in the first round, while Boston falls to the fourth seed and will play Toronto. In this scenario, Pittsburgh faces the Islanders.

Team Scope:

Senators: Ottawa squandered an opportunity to finish sixth in the East on Saturday with a 2-1 regulation loss to the Philadelphia Flyers at Scotiabank Place.

But it wasn’t due to lack of effort. The Senators peppered Flyers goaltender Steve Mason with 44 shots on goal, but Mason ultimately denied Ottawa of picking up any points in the standings. If the Senators lose in regulation again Sunday, they will finish eighth and face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"We played as [well] as we wanted to," Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson said. "We created a lot of scoring chances, but we just couldn't beat [Mason]. He played unbelievable for them. [The Flyers] play good defense and kept us to the outside for the most part. Sometimes, there's not much you can do."

Bruins: Boston picked up a point Saturday with a 3-2 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals. But because Montreal earned a 4-1 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Bruins will need a victory Sunday in order to secure the No. 2 seed in the East.

If the Bruins win in regulation, they will face the New York Islanders in the opening round of the playoffs. If they win in overtime or a shootout, they’ll face the Senators. If they lose in regulation or gain one point, they’ll finish fourth and face the Maple Leafs.

“If we win, we're second place [in the conference] so a lot's on the line," Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask said. "It's good that there are no games that don't matter. Every game has mattered this season and that's the way it's going to be until the end."

Who's hot: Kyle Turris scored for Ottawa on Saturday. He has three goals in the past five games. … Bruins forward Milan Lucic has two goals and an assist in the past five, and David Krejci has a goal and an assist in the past two.

Injury report: Jason Spezza (back) and Mike Hoffman (collarbone) are out for the Senators. … Bruins forward Nathan Horton (hand) has missed four straight games. Jaromir Jagr missed Saturday’s game with flu symptoms.

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