Editor’s note: The NHL announced the first round playoff schedule early Monday. The Bruins and Senators kick off the series Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Ottawa. For the complete series schedule, click here.
The Bruins will face the Senators in the first round of the NHL playoffs. The matchup was decided when the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-2, Sunday. Toronto’s loss means the Bruins finish in third place in the Atlantic Division and will face the second-place Senators.
The Bruins will begin the NHL playoffs Wednesday in Ottawa.
The other Eastern Conference series matchups are Canadiens-Rangers, Blue Jackets-Penguins, and Maple Leafs-Capitals.
The Bruins are 0-3-1 against the Senators this season. Their most recent meeting took place Thursday, with the Bruins losing in a shootout, 2-1.
Still, it is a better first-round playoff matchup for the Bruins than dropping into the second wild-card position and playing Washington, the best team in the league.
While the Bruins have had trouble busting through Ottawa’s neutral-zone trap, they played well against the Senators’ defense in a 4-2 loss on March 6 at TD Garden. The Bruins sent 27 shots on goal, with Craig Anderson being asked to make critical saves to help Ottawa claim the win.
Coach Guy Boucher’s system also helps him get the most out of a roster that lacks both high-end firepower and depth up front. The Bruins will have to keep watch on Kyle Turris, Mike Hoffman, and Mark Stone, three of Ottawa’s more skilled forwards. But Bobby Ryan is having a down year. Zack Smith has been out since March 30. Clarke MacArthur is back from a career-threatening concussion.
The critical question is whether defenseman Erik Karlsson will be at full strength for the start of the playoffs. The Ottawa captain did not play Thursday’s because of a foot injury. He remained out of Ottawa’s lineup Sunday against the Rangers. When healthy, there is no better 200-foot defenseman in the league. Marc Methot, Karlsson’s regular partner, is unlikely to be ready for Game 1. Methot is out with a broken finger, courtesy of a Sidney Crosby slash.
Anderson missed parts of this season to be with wife, Nicholle, who was diagnosed with cancer. But Anderson has been sharp upon his return.
PROJECTED GAME 1 LINEUP
■ Mike Hoffman, Kyle Turris, and Mark Stone
■ Viktor Stalberg, Derick Brassard, and Alex Burrows
■ Tom Pyatt, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Bobby Ryan
■ Clarke MacArthur, Chris Kelly, and Ryan Dzingel
■ Fredrik Claesson and Erik Karlsson
■ Dion Phaneuf and Cody Ceci
■ Mark Borowiecki and Chris Wideman
■ Craig Anderson and Mike Condon
Bruins-Senators playoff schedule
■ Game 1: Wednesday, 7 p.m., at Ottawa (NHL Network)
■ Game 2: Saturday, 3 p.m., at Ottawa (NBC)
■ Game 3: Monday, April 17, 7 p.m., at TD Garden (CNBC)
■ Game 4: Wednesday, April 19, 7:30 p.m., at TD Garden (USA)
■ Game 5 (if necessary): Friday, April 21, TBD, at Ottawa
■ Game 6 (if necessary): Sunday, April 23, TBD, at TD Garden
■ Game 7 (if necessary): Wednesday, April 26, TBD, at Ottawa
Who will win the Bruins-Senators playoff series?— Boston Globe Sports (@BGlobeSports) April 10, 2017