|Daniel Alfredsson and the Senators will hit the ice at New York's Madison Square Garden on Thursday to open the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Rangers (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photography/OSHC).
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For the first time ever, the Ottawa Senators are headed to Broadway to open the Stanley Cup playoffs. Thanks in part to their season-ending road loss to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday afternoon, the eighth-seeded Senators will match up with the New York Rangers, the Eastern Conference's top team in the regular season, in an opening-round series.
The Senators and Rangers will get started Thursday at Madison Square Garden. That's because "the world's most famous arena" is booked for a concert on Wednesday, the opening night of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and the NBA's New York Knicks have the building on Friday. That means Game 2 is at MSG on Saturday. Both are 7 p.m. starts.
Then the series shifts to Scotiabank Place for Games 3 and 4 on April 16 and 18, respectively (both 7:30 p.m.). Game 5, if necessary, would be played in New York on April 21, with Game 6 set for April 23. A seventh and deciding game, if needed, would go April 26 in New York.
CBC's Hockey Night in Canada
will have television coverage of the entire series. All games can also be heard on radio on the Team 1200.
Heading into the weekend, it seemed the Senators were locked into a first-round series with the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins — the two teams had held down the seventh and second spots in the conference standings for weeks — but all of that changed on a wild final Saturday of the regular season.
First, the Senators fell to the Devils 4-2 in an afternoon contest. But for Ottawa (41-31-10) to slide to eighth, the Washington Capitals had to beat the Rangers in New York, while the Florida Panthers needed to grab one point on home ice against the Carolina Hurricanes to secure the Southeast Division crown.
The Caps (42-32-8) got the job done at MSG, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the opening 2:18 en route to a 4-1 triumph. Then an hour later, the Panthers (38-26-18) quelled the Canes 4-1 to finish with 94 points, two better than Washington. And the Capitals held the tiebreaker advantage (regulation/overtime wins) to bump the Senators from seventh down to eighth.
With a 51-24-7 record, the Rangers finished 17 points in front of Ottawa in the final standings. But the Senators took three of four games against the Blueshirts this season, including both meetings at Madison Square Garden — 5-4 in a shootout on Oct. 29 and 3-0 on Jan. 12. At Scotiabank Place, the Rangers edged the Senators 3-2 on Nov. 9 but dropped a 4-1 decision on March 8.
NEW YORK RANGERS (1) vs. OTTAWA SENATORS (8)
Thursday, April 12 —
at New York, 7 p.m. (CBC, Team 1200)Saturday, April 14 —
at New York, 7 p.m. (CBC, Team 1200)Monday, April 16 —
at Ottawa, 7:30 p.m. (CBC, Team 1200)Wednesday, April 18 —
at Ottawa, 7:30 p.m. (CBC, Team 1200)x-Saturday, April 21 —
at New York, 7 p.m. (CBC, Team 1200)x-Monday, April 23 —
at Ottawa, TBD (CBC, Team 1200)x-Thursday, April 26 —
at New York, TBD (CBC, Team 1200)
x — if necessary