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Preview: Senators at Bruins

Ottawa can clinch playoff berth with one point; Boston without suspended forward Brad Marchand

by Matt Kalman / Correspondent

SENATORS (42-27-10) at BRUINS (44-30-6)

7 p.m. ET; NBCSN,

Senators team scope

The Ottawa Senators will try to clinch their first Stanley Cup Playoff berth since 2015 by earning at least one point against the Boston Bruins. The Senators also could clinch if the Tampa Bay Lightning lose at the Toronto Maple Leafs in any fashion and the New York Islanders lose at the Carolina Hurricanes in any fashion. The Senators and Bruins are tied for second place in the Atlantic Division; Ottawa has one game in hand, but Boston has five more regulation/overtime wins, which is the first tiebreaker. The Senators and Bruins each are one point ahead of the Maple Leafs; Toronto has one game in hand on Boston. Defenseman Erik Karlsson, whose 71 points (17 goals, 54 assists) lead the Senators, will not play after injuring his right foot in a 2-0 win against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday. "Anybody losing their top player obviously is a gigantic hole," coach Guy Boucher said. "But we've had games without Erik and we were playing it tight. And we've got to play the same way. ... I think as a team our game won't change. We're playing the same way, we're expecting our players to continue to buy in like they bought in all year." Defenseman Cody Ceci, who was a game-time decision because of a lower-body injury, will play.


Bruins team scope

The Bruins will try to move closer to securing home-ice advantage in the Eastern Conference First Round with a victory against the Senators, who could be their opponent in that series. Boston will be without its leading scorer, forward Brad Marchand, who will serve the first of a two-game suspension issued by the NHL Department of Player Safety on Thursday for spearing Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jake Dotchin on Tuesday. Marchand will finish the regular season with 39 goals, 46 assists and 85 points, each an NHL career high. Boston is 11-3-0 in its past 14 games at TD Garden and 23-16-0 at home this season. "It's a big difference if you play those deciding games at home or on the road," defenseman Zdeno Chara said. "It's something that gives us motivation to still play for something that's important, especially at this time of the year. With a few games left in the season, you want to make sure you continue to play a certain way and you get ready for the playoffs. You don't get complacent." The Bruins have been outscored 10-5 in losing all three games against the Senators this season. "When you play a team the number of times we have in our division, you obviously want to get your share of wins against them," coach Bruce Cassidy said, "but it's more about how we're playing right now, how we're playing to our standard, continue our winning ways going into the playoffs." Forward David Backes will play his 800th NHL game.

Senators projected lineup

Mike Hoffman -- Kyle Turris -- Mark Stone

Viktor Stalberg -- Derick Brassard -- Alexandre Burrows

Ryan Dzingel -- Jean-Gabriel Pageau -- Tom Pyatt

Tommy Wingels -- Chris Kelly -- Clarke MacArthur

Dion Phaneuf -- Cody Ceci

Mark Borowiecki -- Chris Wideman

Fredrik Claesson -- Ben Harpur

Craig Anderson

Mike Condon

Scratched: Christopher DiDomenico, Colin White, Jyrki Jokipakka

Injured: Zack Smith (upper body), Marc Methot (finger), Chris Neil (finger), Bobby Ryan (upper body), Erik Karlsson (foot)


Bruins projected lineup

Frank Vatrano -- Patrice Bergeron -- David Backes

Drew Stafford -- David Krejci -- David Pastrnak

Sean Kuraly -- Ryan Spooner -- Matt Beleskey

Dominic Moore -- Riley Nash -- Noel Acciari

Zdeno Chara -- Brandon Carlo

Torey Krug -- Adam McQuaid

John-Michael Liles -- Kevan Miller

Tuukka Rask

Anton Khudobin

Scratched: Colin Miller, Joe Morrow

Injured: Tim Schaller (lower body), Jimmy Hayes (lower body), Frank Vatrano (lower body)

Suspended: Brad Marchand


Status report

The Senators will use the same 12 forwards they did Tuesday. ... Cassidy didn't confirm his plan for replacing Marchand, but Beleskey replaced Marchand on one power-play unit during the morning skate and Vatrano, who has missed the past four games, filled Beleskey's spot on the other unit.


Who's hot

Hoffman has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in his past 11 games. ... Turris has nine points (four goals, five assists) in his past eight games. ... Pastrnak has 22 points (nine goals, 13 assists) in his past 20 games.

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