On Tuesday night the playoff-bound Ottawa Senators will pack their bags and skate into the City of Brotherly Love to take on the statistically-still-alive Philadelphia Flyers. Whereas the Senators are hopeful to catch the Atlantic Division-leading Montreal Canadiens with their eight games remaining, the Flyers are just playing out the remainder of their seven games with nothing to play for but pride.
Technically they haven’t been eliminated from the playoffs yet, but being six points out of the last wild card spot with seven games remaining, their fate has been sealed for the past couple of weeks now. They are, however, coming off an impressive 6-2 road win on Sunday night against their archrival Pittsburgh Penguins so it will be interesting to see if the Flyers come out Tuesday night against the Senators with any carryover confidence that saw six different players score goals.
For the Senators, if they can take advantage of the fact that five of their last seven games are against teams out of the playoffs they can legitimately challenge the Canadiens for the Atlantic Division title. They are only three points back and have a game in hand.
However, winning the division might not present the best overall matchup because of how the NHL realignment sets up playoff seeding. If they win their division they will have the tough task of going up against the New York Rangers, who hold the first wild card spot despite having six more points in the standings than the Senators.
Ottawa Senators vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Wells Fargo Center – 7:00 p.m. EST
Broadcast channels – TCN-PH, RDS2, TSN5; 97.5 The Fanatic
2016-17 Season Series: Tied 1-1
Ottawa Senators: 41-25-8 – 90 Points
Road Record: 21-14-0
Hot Players: Mike Hoffman (six-game point streak)
Scratches: Jyrki Jokipakka (healthy), Chris DiDomenico (healthy), Viktor Stålberg (upper body), Marc Methot (finger laceration), Chris Neil (IR, broken finger), Clarke MacArthur (LTIR, post-concussion syndrome).
15 Zack Smith – 7 Kyle Turris – 9 Bobby Ryan
14 Alexandre Burrows – 19 Derick Brassard – 61 Mark Stone
68 Mike Hoffman – 44 Jean-Gabriel Pageau – 10 Tom Pyatt
18 Ryan Dzingel – 22 Chris Kelly – 57 Tommy Wingels
33 Fredrik Claesson – 65 Erik Karlsson
2 Dion Phaneuf – 5 Cody Ceci
74 Mark Borowiecki – 6 Chris Wideman
41 Craig Anderson
Philadelphia Flyers: 35-32-8 – 78 Points
Home Record: 21-11-4
Hot Players: Shayne Gostisbehere, Jordan Weal
Scratches: Nick Schultz (healthy), Roman Lyubimov (healthy), Michael Raffl (IR, lower body).
24 Matt Read – 28 Claude Giroux – 93 Jakub Voracek
40 Jordan Weal – 51 Valterri Filppula – 17 Wayne Simmonds
22 Dale Weise – 14 Sean Couturier – 10 Brayden Schenn
76 Chris VandeVelde – 78 Pierre-Édouard Bellemare – 11 Travis Konecny
9 Ivan Provorov – 47 Andrew MacDonald
23 Brandon Manning – 53 Shayne Gostisbehere
55 Nick Schultz – 3 Radko Gudas
35 Steve Mason
1 The Flyers faintly remain in the playoff picture, with a 0.2 percent chance of making it. They will become the first team in NHL history to miss the postseason after having a 10-game winning streak in the regular season. Not only is the task of being six points out with seven games remaining nearly impossible, they also have to jump three teams in front of them before they could get to the Boston Bruins who hold down that last spot.
2) The Senators might want to stand pat in the standings and hope the Canadiens can keep winning to close out the season. Finishing second in the Atlantic Division would set them up for a first-round matchup against either the Bruins or the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are both battling for the third seed in their division and the last wild card spot.
3) Don’t expect the Flyers offense to carry over from their six-goal outburst against the Penguins on Sunday night. In games where the Flyes have scored five or more goals, they are just 2-4-0 the following game with a combined goals-scored of 13.
4) The Senators are not a flashy team by any stretch of the imagination. They’ve been winning games all year by sheer determination, playing a gritty tight-checking style of hockey. They are second in the NHL in blocked shots and also third in the league in hits. They grind out their games and as a result, 31 of their wins have come by two goals or fewer.