Pens get Isles in opener
BOSTON – Ottawa Senators forward Daniel Alfredsson said he’s always wanted to face the Montreal Canadiens in the playoffs.
Or was he just trying to avoid the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins?
“We talked about mostly finishing better than last year,” Alfredsson said after the Senators beat Boston, 4-2, in the NHL’s rescheduled regular-season finale on Sunday night to earn the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference.
“We were eighth last year, so to win here the last game and finish seventh it feels really good. We improved on last year, and that’s what we wanted.”
Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored the tiebreaking goal with 3:34 to play, and Kyle Turris added an empty-netter to help Ottawa win the game that was originally scheduled for April 15, the day of the Boston Marathon bombings.
It was the only NHL game on Sunday, with the rest of the league wrapping up the regular season by Saturday.
The victory pushed the Senators past the New York Islanders and into seventh in the East, helping them avoid the Penguins in the first round.
Ottawa opens the series in Montreal on Thursday.
“I think it will be a great series,” Alfredsson said. “The Bell Centre is one of the most exciting buildings to play in.”
The Islanders will face Pittsburgh in the first round. The Bruins could have won the Northeast Division and earned a No. 2 seed with a win, but they finished fourth in the East and will play Toronto in the first round starting Wednesday.