The final regular-season game will be a very important one for the Ottawa Senators and Boston Bruins.
While the Bruins will be focused on winning the Northeast Division title Sunday night, the visiting Senators have an opportunity to move up a spot and avoid high-powered Pittsburgh in the first round.
The regular season was originally scheduled to end Saturday, but this game was postponed from April 15 in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings.
Boston (28-13-6) has been vying with Montreal for the Northeast lead for most of the season and the Bruins will have the final say as they chase their third straight division title.
A 3-2 overtime loss at Washington on Saturday, coupled with the Canadiens' 4-1 win over Toronto, left Boston one point back and needing a victory of any kind to secure the division and the No. 2 seed.
``It's good that there are no games that don't matter,'' Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask said. ``Every game has mattered this season, and that's the way it's going to be until the end.''
Besides better postseason position, a victory would give Boston a much-needed jolt of confidence after losing for the sixth time in eight games. The Bruins squandered a two-goal lead in the third period and gave up three power-play goals.
``We want to win that division,'' coach Claude Julien said, ``so we're going to play to win tomorrow - no ifs, ands or buts.''
Facing the Senators (24-17-6) would appear to be a favorable matchup for the Bruins, winners of five straight and 13 of 14 in the series. Boston has outscored Ottawa 23-11 while taking six of seven home meetings.
A win of any kind would put the Senators in a first-round matchup with Montreal, while an overtime or shootout loss means a meeting with Boston. A regulation loss would leave Ottawa as the No. 8 seed and set up a series against the Penguins.
``We're going in to win a game," coach Paul MacLean said. "We haven't beaten that team yet this year. We've been close on a number of occasions and tomorrow we have to go in and win a game."
The Senators could've picked up the point they needed to move up to seventh Saturday, but lost 2-1 to Philadelphia despite outshooting the Flyers 44-25. It was the third loss in four games for Ottawa, which was held to three or fewer goals for the 15th consecutive contest.
``Just because we throw 40 at the net doesn't mean that we're getting great scoring chances,'' goalie Craig Anderson said. ``We had some good scoring chances, don't get me wrong, but we've got to find a way to score on a few of those.''
Offense has been an issue all season for Ottawa and the power play has contributed very little lately. After going scoreless on five opportunities Saturday, the Senators are 2 for 22 with the man advantage in the last seven games.
Generating offense in this game may not be easy regardless of which Boston goalie starts. Rask has posted a 1.21 goals-against average while winning his four career starts against Ottawa, and backup Anton Khudobin is 3-0-0 with a 1.33 GAA lifetime in the series. Khudobin has won both meetings this season, including a career-high 45-save performance in a 3-2 victory April 2.
Anderson, who hasn't faced the Bruins this season, has gone 1-7-0 with a 4.20 GAA in his last eight meetings.
Backup Robin Lehner has been much better, posting a 2.13 GAA in six starts versus Boston despite a 1-3-2 record.