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Who will Senators face in Round 1? Here's the breakdown





The Ottawa Senators are playoff-bound.

The Sens clinched a spot in the post-season with a 2-1 shoot-out win over the Boston Bruins Thursday night. Now they wait to find out who their opponent will be.

We've looked at the math to figure out the possibilities. There are three, though two are much more likely.

Here are the potential matchups, from least probable to most.

Washington

A first-round series against Alexander Ovechkin and the seemingly unstoppable Capitals is highly unlikely, but stranger things have happened. If Ottawa ends the season in a three-way tie with Boston and Toronto, the Senators fall to the bottom and face the league-leading Caps.

Here's what needs to happen for that to come to pass:

  1. Ottawa gains one point or fewer in their final two games, Toronto wins their final two games and Boston wins their final game.
  2. Ottawa loses their final two games in regulation, Boston loses their final game in overtime or a shoot-out, and Toronto gains at least three points in their final two games.
Ovechkin Custom Skates Hockey

The Capitals, led by sniper Alexander Ovechkin, are Stanley Cup faves. (Alex Brandon/Associated Press)

It's far more likely that Ottawa will play Toronto or Boston in the first round. We asked fans which team they'd prefer to see the Sens face:

Here's a poll: Fans, would you rather the #Sens play the #Leafs or #Bruins?

— @CBCOttawa

Toronto

The Leafs still aren't guaranteed a playoff spot, but let's assume they're in.

Between 2000 and 2004, Toronto dominated the Battle of Ontario, taking all four playoff rounds against the Sens. (Fun Fact: Chris Neil is the only current Senator left from that era.)

Here are the scenarios that could see the rivalry re-ignited in 2017:

  1. Toronto gains at least three points in their final two games, while Boston loses their final game in regulation.
  2. Toronto wins their final two games, Boston lose their final game in overtime or a shoot-out, and Ottawa gains at least one point in their final two games.
matthews-auston

Maple Leafs star rookie Auston Matthews is a favourite for the Calder Trophy. (Jeffrey T. Barnes/The Associated Press)

Boston

Ottawa and Boston have never faced each other in the playoffs. That hasn't stopped the two teams from forming an intense rivalry during the regular season.

This is the most likely matchup as of Friday, as Boston comes out on top in the event of a tie with Toronto.

Here's what needs to happen for a Sens-Bruins showdown:

  1. Toronto gains two points or fewer in their final two games.
  2. Boston loses their final game in overtime or shoot-out, Toronto gains three points or fewer in their final two games, and Ottawa gains at least one point their final two games.
  3. Boston wins their final game, Toronto wins their final two games and Ottawa gains at least two points in their final two games.
marchand-brad-170404-1180

Bruins forward Brad Marchand is one of the NHL's top scorers. Oh, and also one of its dirtiest players. (Charles Krupa/Associated Press)


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