The Senators this week

A look at Ottawa Senators games over the next seven days.

The Senators this week
Boston Bruins center Chris Kelly (23) and Carl Soderberg (34) skate up the ice after the Pittsburgh Penguins tied the game during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, April 20, 2013, in Boston. The Penguins won the game 3-2. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

MONDAY VS PENGUINS

These are not the Penguins who ran roughshod over the Eastern Conference this season, and that bodes well for the Ottawa Senators. With Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal and Paul Martin sitting this one out, the Senators have a golden opportunity to put more distance between themselves and the last non-playoff team that can still catch them, the Winnipeg Jets. Any group of players coached by Dan Bylsma is a threat to win on any night, but the Pittsburgh coach will be forced to use all his motivational tricks this week. No team can catch the Pens atop the conference, and their last three games after Monday are against the Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes — all non-playoff teams. Time for a little R & R.

7:30 p.m., TV: SNET-E, TVA
Radio: Team 1200 AM

THURSDAY AT CAPITALS

A lot can happen between now and Thursday, so it’s hard to know what kind of Capitals team the Senators will be facing. If the Jets continue to win and the Southeast Division remains in play, Alex Ovechkin and his teammates will be desperate. If not, this could be another case of resting and protecting star players ahead of the post-season. The Caps are in the same position as the Senators, but with a bigger reward at the end of the tunnel. The combination of a Washington win and Winnipeg loss in regulation would clinch the division for the Capitals, meaning they wouldn’t be able to fall lower than third place in the Eastern Conference. Given the Senators could very well finish sixth, this is yet another potential first-round matchup.

7 p.m., TV: TSN, TVA
Radio: Team 1200 AM

SATURDAY VS FLYERS

Mercifully, the 2013 campaign is almost over for the Philadelphia Flyers. What a nightmare it’s been, too. A team that was expected to be a Stanley Cup contender, they didn’t even come close to the dance (they currently sit 12th in the Eastern Conference). The scoring was there, but amateur astronomer Ilya Bryzgalov has been such a disappointment in goal (.898 save percentage) that the Flyers are considering buying out the final seven years of his nine-year, $51 million contract. But who, you might ask, will carry on Philadelphia’s proud tradition of unreliable goaltending into 2013-14? Enter Steve Mason, who had one good season four years ago, enough to earn a sparkling new $1.5 million deal to play nets for the Flyers. The circus continues.

7 p.m., TV: CBC
Radio: Team 1200 AM

SUNDAY AT BRUINS

The season will end with a sombre reminder of last week’s events in Massachusetts. This game was originally scheduled for last Monday, but the Senators wound up flying back home after the National Hockey League made the right call and postponed it in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. It was a nice touch by the Senators organization to post “Believe in Boston” on the boards in front of their bench Saturday night, and the crowd’s rendition of Sweet Caroline as a tribute to the people of that city was stirring. The game will provide one last chance for the Senators to pick up a victory over their division rivals (they’ve lost all four games so far this season by close scores). Playoff participants should be set by this point, but positioning might not be.

7 p.m., TV: SNET-E
Radio: Team 1200 AM

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