The Ottawa Senators aren’t going to the Stanley Cup playoffs. Not a single Canadian team is, but that’s old news.
They do, however, have the chance to ruin the playoff hopes of the Boston Bruins in their regular season finale on Saturday. And the Senators are hoping to play that role of spoiler.
Should the Senators beat the Bruins in regulation, and the Philadelphia Flyers defeat the rival Pittsburgh Penguins in any fashion later in the day, Boston is eliminated from post-season contention in a late-season collapse highlighted by a five-game losing streak in late-March.
“We’re not handing anything to them,” Senators forward Zack Smith told the Ottawa Sun. “We’ve had enough battles with them. There is a little bit of a rivalry there, too. We don’t owe anything to them, we have to go in there and win the game.
“Everyone has to find motivation from somewhere, whether it’s personal goals or just wanting to prove some things to different people that we’re not giving up, that we do have something to play for.”
Even though the Senators are out of it, they could present a challenge for the Bruins. At least, that’s what the Bruins are expecting.
“There’s no pressure on them, there’s no doubt,” said Boston’s coach Claude Julien, as per the club’s website. “They played a very solid game last night against Florida [in a 3-1 victory]. Just goes to show us that no matter what the situations are at this time of the year, there are no easy games.
“There’s a lot of pride. There’s a lot of players playing for jobs. There’s a lot of reasons for every team to want to win hockey games. And no doubt, if I was in their shoes, I’d say, ‘let’s finish on a winning note here.’”