PENGUINS (34-10-0) at SENATORS (23-15-6)
TV: ROOT SPORTS-PIT, SNET-E
Last 10: Pittsburgh 8-2-0, Ottawa 4-6-0
Season series: This is the third of three meetings. The Pittsburgh Penguins took the first two games and will be looking to sweep the Ottawa Senators on Monday at Scotiabank Place.
Big story: The Ottawa Senators will clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a win and a regulation victory by the Buffalo Sabres over the Winnipeg Jets. The Senators are also looking to move back into sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
Penguins: After clinching the top spot in the Eastern Conference on Saturday, the Penguins will most likely turn their attention to getting healthy for the playoffs. That should be somewhat tricky going into Ottawa, an organization that was very vocal about the Erik Karlsson injury that took place in Pittsburgh on Feb. 13. Some members of the Senators’ organization thought Matt Cooke targeted Karlsson and wanted him suspended.
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma took a different approach to addressing the situation. When asked if he expects shenanigans in Ottawa, coach Bylsma replied, “I’m not aware they’re dressing Shenanigans … I don’t know what number he would be or what kind of player he would be.”
The Penguins have recalled enforcer Steve MacIntyre from its American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and could possibly dress him for the game, although Bylsma didn’t say if he would.
Depending on how the season finishes, these teams could be a first round match-up, potentially leading to a very physical series.
Senators: Like Pittsburgh, Ottawa has had a difficult season with injuries to key players. Although Jason Spezza is still out after back surgery, the Sens had Milan Michalek and Craig Anderson return to the lineup and Karlsson is close to returning.
Ottawa is currently one point behind the Islanders for the sixth seed in the East, but it also has a game in hand. Toronto, Winnipeg, the New York Rangers, Washington and the Islanders are all competing to make the playoffs with only four spots remaining.
After a devastating 4-1 loss to Toronto on Saturday, the Senators don’t have much room for error. With three of their last four games against the top three teams in the East, it will be a difficult task to gain every point they can.
Who's hot: Before Saturday’s win in Boston, Pens forward Pascal Dupuis was on a six-game point streak with 10 points (three goals, seven assists).
Injury report: Sidney Crosby (broken jaw), James Neal (concussion), Paul Martin (hand surgery), and Evgeni Malkin (upper body) will not play. Kris Letang (illness) is a game-time decision for Pittsburgh. … Mike Hoffman (collarbone) and Spezza (back surgery) will not play for the Sens. Karlsson (achilles laceration) is a game-time decision.