Sunday, April 6, 2008

Playoff opponent update: No Montreal in first round

Conference Quarter-Final Opponent Watch, Day Four: As it now stands, there is no way the Senators can play against the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the 2008 playoffs. With Carolina officially officially eliminated from the playoffs, the only possible opponents now are the Pittsburgh Penguins or the Washington Capitals.

Fresh off a 3-1 victory over the Maple Leafs, Montreal now sits at first in the Eastern Conference with two more points than Pittsburgh. The Penguins have a game in hand, and would have more wins should they win that game--which will be against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday at 3 p.m.

Should Pittsburgh win the game (whether in regulation time or in overtime or a shootout), the Senators will remain in sixth place with one more point than seventh-place Boston and eighth-place Philadelphia. If the Flyers win the game (regardless of regulation time or overtime/shootout), though, they leapfrog over Ottawa and the Bruins and would finish in sixth, dropping the Sens down to seventh place into a matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins, who would remain in second overall.

So it boils down to this:
  1. Philadelphia win: Sens v. Pittsburgh
  2. Pittsburgh win: Sens v. Washington
Cheer as appropriate in order to achieve desired result. The only other order that can change is between the New Jersey Devils and the New York Rangers, who are basically playing each other on Sunday to determine who will get home-ice advantage in an all-Atlantic 4-5 series matchup. By scheduling these divisional matches for the end of the regular season, the league did good in planning out its schedule to keep the playoff picture murky right to the very end.
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