MORNING PENS BUZZ
Photo: Ottawa Sun
The buzz surrounding tonight’s Penguins – Senators game is all about Matt Cooke. The Ottawa media has made it a huge storyline as the Ottawa Sun has Cooke on their front page with the headline “COOKED PENGUIN ON THE MENU”.
Senators owner Eugene Melnyk has made his hatred known for Cooke as he believes Cooke cut Erik Karlsson’s leg on purpose. In late March, Melnyk hired forensic experts to analyze the injury and video to determine if the slice was intentional.
Ottawa fans are prepared to make their presence felt calling tonight’s game “Matt Cooke Hate Fest”.
Could the Penguins put a wrench in Ottawa’s plan by not playing Cooke tonight? Possible and if they were to make Cooke a healthy scratch, the Canadian media will be talking about that for weeks.
For the Senators, though, the focus should be on trying to avoid the Penguins in the first round, not putting all of their attention to Matt Cooke. A Senators win tonight and a Winnipeg Jets regulation loss in Buffalo would clinch a playoff spot for the Senators.
Avoiding the No. 8 seed is what the Senators should only be worried about tonight. The Penguins would make quick work of Ottawa in a seven game series, compared to nabbing the No. 7 seed where they would play a vulnerable Boston or Montreal team.
A win tonight for the Senators tonight also moves them ahead of the Islanders into the No. 6 seed and just one point behind Toronto for the No. 5 seed. A huge game for them tonight.
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS
1. Pittsburgh Penguins | 44 GP – 68 Pts |
2. Boston Bruins | 44 GP – 59 Pts |
3. Washington Capitals | 45 GP – 52 Pts |
4. Montreal Canadiens | 45 GP – 59 Pts |
5. Toronto Maple Leafs | 45 GP – 55 Pts |
6. New York Islanders | 45 GP – 53 Pts |
7. Ottawa Senators | 44 GP – 52 Pts |
8. New York Rangers | 45 GP – 52 Pts |
9. Winnipeg Jets | 45 GP – 49 Pts