Ottawa Senators v Florida Panthers

Senators take Northeast Division lead from Bruins


Tim Thomas and the Boston Bruins can’t seem to find answers for their struggles, but the Ottawa Senators have no plans to make life easier for them. The surprisingly effective team edged the Montreal Canadiens in a tight 2-1 OT win to take at least a temporary hold on the Northeast Division lead.

Filip Kuba scored the game-winner after Colin Greening tied the game early in the third period.

Here’s how the Boston-Ottawa standings situation looks right now:

Ottawa: 84 points, 10 games remaining, 37 wins, 32 in regulation/OT
Boston: 83 points, 12 games remaining, 40 wins, 33 in regulation/OT

Here is a quick look at how their schedules pan out:

  • The two teams have one game left against each other: an April 5 match in Ottawa, which will be one of the final contests of the regular season for each squad.
  • Ottawa plays its next two games at home, then plays four of five on the road before ending with two of three at home. Overall, they have five home and road contests left.
  • The Bruins play their next two games at home, then have a California trio of road contests. After that, it’s two home games against Southeast Division teams, two away contests against New York squads, then the Ottawa skirmish sandwiched between two home contests against teams who might be fighting for playoff seeding (Pittsburgh and Buffalo). Overall, the Bruins play six more games in Boston and six contests away from Beantown.


The Bruins’ games in hand give them an obvious leg up, but their four-game losing streak – all in regulation – doesn’t inspire the same confidence. Ottawa most likely will need to finish the season with one more point, although the regulation/OT tiebreaker isn’t out of reach.

It could very well come down to that April 5 game in Ottawa, but either way, it should be fun (except for especially nervy Bruins fans, perhaps).

With all that in mind, who do you think will take it?

Devils send ’15 first-rounder Zacha back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One

Pavel Zacha was this close to making his NHL debut.

Just days prior to opening their season against the Jets, the Devils returned Zacha — the sixth overall pick at this year’s draft — back to his junior club in OHL Sarnia.

The move comes after Zacha, 18, impressed throughout training camp and the preseason. He appeared in four exhibition games for New Jersey, scoring one point while endearing himself to the organizational brass, coaching staff and players.

“He understands the game. He plays with a maturity. It’s crazy to think an 18-year-old coming out of high school is up here and playing with the maturity and understanding of the game with the new system,” Kyle Palmieri told “I think he’s got a lot of raw talent there as a power forward. He’s got the body for it, the puck-handling skills and the nose for the net.”

At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Zacha has the frame and physical stature to play at the NHL level, and looked the part for long stretches of the exhibition season, getting turns on New Jersey’s top line.

The decision to send him back to junior is probably the right one, however.

Zacha only turned 18 in April and has limited experience even at the OHL level; ’14-15 was his first year with Sarnia, though he did appear in 38 Czech League games (for Liberec) the season prior.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.