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ampionships. Canada (5-2) is tied with Korea, Sw

MessaggioInviato: 19/01/2018, 7:45
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OTTAWA -- For the past month the Ottawa Senators have been focusing on playing better hockey while keeping a close eye on the Eastern Conference playoff race. And with one game remaining before the Olympic break, Ottawa finally has a chance to crack the top eight in the conference standings. Ottawa (26-21-11) visits the Boston Bruins (36-16-4) on Saturday afternoon hopeful theyll have a hold on a playoff spot once the dust settles. Trouble is, the Senators are in a very tight race and winning still might not be enough. Ottawa has 63 points heading into Fridays action, one behind Detroit for the final wildcard spot. But the Columbus Blue Jackets also have 63 points and more wins. Columbus faces San Jose on Friday night and a Blue Jackets win will leave Ottawa outside the top eight regardless of Saturdays outcome in Boston. And theres also the matter of the Red Wings, who face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night. So should either Detroit or Columbus win, nothing would change for Ottawa. "Its a competitive group of teams thats fighting for that spot," said Ottawa defenceman Marc Methot. "It keeps you honest. I like it. "It makes it competitive and it makes every game that much more important and those are easy games to get up for. Its going to be competitive and I bet its going to get right down to the last week of the season." Ottawa is in playoff contention thanks to posting a 9-3-4 mark so far in 2014. The Senators feel as long as they can remain competitive they should find themselves in good standing at seasons end. "Were playing better hockey, were playing more consistent," said captain Jason Spezza. "A win in Boston would go a long way for us to keep moving in the right direction so its a good opportunity for us to win another game and keep grabbing points." Spezza finds himself on a nice roll, having recorded seven points (one goal, six assists) in his last five games. While the Olympic break might not be ideal, the Senators feel they can take advantage of the practice time and return to action with confidence. "Im real proud of the little stretch of good hockey that weve been playing lately," said Methot. "If theres any way to go into the break its playing properly and good structured hockey and as a team right now were clicking. "You just hope after a little bit of a layover with the break, so to speak, well come back just as strong. Im sure well be putting the work in as soon as were all back together." While holding down a top-eight spot by the Olympic break would be satisfying, centre Zack Smith believes even being within reach is a positive sign. "Weve come a long way in the last month and a half or so," said Smith. "Weve won some big games and theres a few that obviously wed like to have back. "Theyre all emotional games right now so its nice to get points and stay in." But with the teams Ottawa is chasing also winning, that makes the Senators task that much more difficult. "Theres not much separation or breathing room it seems," said Smith. "Everything can change within a few hours so you have to wait and check scores to see whats going on." But one benefit of a tight race is it makes every game important. "Every night youre playing for something and you know the points are that much more important," said Smith. "Its exciting to. "Win or lose you know it has a lot of influence on where your spot is and what position youre in." Should Ottawa be unable to crack the top eight by the break, Smith said there will still be plenty of time for the team to make a move. "When it comes down to it, theres still a lot of games left after the break," said Smith. "Its still a long season. "If we dont win a game or say we lose two games in a row were still not out of it by any means. Its good for motivation." NOTES -- Craig Anderson will start in goal against Boston . . . Forward Stephane DaCosta was re-assigned to the AHLs Binghamton Senators on Friday. In eight games, DaCosta had three goals and an assists . . . Defenceman Chris Phillips will miss his seventh straight game with a lower-body injury Saturday. Phillips skated on his own prior to practice . . . Defenceman Erik Karlsson was given a maintenance day Friday . . . Head coach Paul MacLean shuffled all of his lines at practice. But he said not much should be read into it as he was just having some fun . . . Most of the Senators said theyd be keeping a close eye on the Olympic action but also were looking forward to having a little down time. Jonathan Huberdeau Jersey . "Its not done, but its a huge step," Hannover general manager Dirk Dufner said. Poor defending allowed the visitors to score in the second minute, when Leon Andreasens header from Christian Panders cross sent the ball inside the far post. Jared McCann Jersey . 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MacKenzie Weegar Jersey . -- During a players meeting following the All-Star break, Jermaine ONeal promised his teammates to play the rest of the regular season like he would never play again -- because he very well might not.FLIMS, Switzerland - Canadas Kelsey Rocque defeated the United States 8-4 to move into a first-place tie in the womens division at the world junior curling championships. Canada (5-2) is tied with Korea, Switzerland and Russia for top spot. Rocques rink from Edmonton led the Americans 6-4 after eight ends and scored two in the ninth to cement its third straight win. Canada finished the round-robin Sunday with games against Scotland (2-5) and Denmark (0-7). In mens action, Winnipegs Braden Calvert earned two wins, including a 6-5 decision over previously unbeaten Norway. "I guess well take the win after a game like that," said Calvert. "We got off to a bad start. I threw a really bad rock in five and we had to come back from that. "Luckily, we did and we pulled through." Canada gave up consecutive steals to tail 3-0 at the break. But Calverts rink rallied in the sixth ass she made a tricky angle-raise double to score two.dddddddddddd He followed that up with a steal of two in the seventh to go ahead. "That was huge in terms of the momentum we got from that shot," Calvert said of the sixth. "We gained a lot of confidence and basically got back at them." Canada also beat Switzerland 7-2 to improve its record to 4-3, leaving it in a three-way tie for third. "Were starting to get on a bit of a roll," said Calvert. "Were starting to gain some momentum and confidence. "We were really sharp out of the gate tonight and grabbed an early deuce. That was definitely the turning point in the game and we kept fighting and were able to pull it off. All the teams here are tough and each game is going to be a battle." Canada finishes the round-robin Sunday with games against the United States (2-5) and Austria (3-4). 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