Ottawa at NY Islanders
When: 5:00 PM
ET, Sunday, April 9, 2017
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
Despite a spirited finishing kick by the New York Islanders, Sunday's regular-season finale against the visiting Ottawa Senators was rendered meaningless when Toronto clinched the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference Saturday night. Ottawa also has nothing to play for after securing second place in the Atlantic Division on Saturday.
Facing an uphill climb in the postseason chase and minus injured captain John Tavares, New York made a gritty run by ripping off five consecutive victories. Yet, about an hour after dispatching New Jersey 4-2 on Saturday night, the Islanders' hopes were quashed when the Maple Leafs scored three times in the final 5 1/2 minutes to nail down the last playoff slot. It's hard to imagine New York mustering much emotion for Sunday's matchup, particularly against an Ottawa squad that will rest a number of its top players. The Senators rebounded from a five-skid by winning its last three and will host either Toronto or Boston in the opening round of the postseason.
TV: 5 p.m. ET, RDS2, TSN5 (Ottawa), MSG-Plus (New York)
ABOUT THE SENATORS (44-27-10): With its playoff seeding secured, Ottawa still is dealing with one pressing issue -- the health of captain Erik Karlsson. Although the team's leading scorer will sit out his third straight game with a foot injury, Karlsson said there should be "no issues" keeping him out of the lineup come playoff time. “I probably could have played this weekend if I had to," Karlsson said. "There wasn’t really much need for me. The smart decision and the good decision was probably rest.”
ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (40-29-12): Anders Lee was superb during New York's closing run, seizing the mantle with the injury to Tavares and scoring five times in the last five games to boost his season total to a career-best 33. Jaroslav Halak, waived and marooned on the club's AHL affiliate, returned to backbone the furious late-season surge and surrendered a total of six goals in winning his last five starts. Jason Chimera needs one goal to reach 20 for the second straight season and third time in his career.
1. Ottawa has won both meetings this season, outscoring the Islanders 9-2.
2. New York hasn't won six games in a row since February 2008.
3. Senators F Mark Stone is mired in a 15-game goal drought, but he has two tallies and four points in the two meetings with New York.
PREDICTION: Islanders 4, Senators 2
Stats and Records