Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/13/13 at 09:00 AM ET
By Matthew Feuerman of TiqIQ,
Not many would have predicted that going into the 2012-2013 season, the Northeast Division would arguably be the NHL’s most competitive. That’s how things have turned out, however, and teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators--who many experts and fans discarded before the season started--have ended up shocking the hockey world.
The Senators, in particular, had excelled against all odds. Who would have thought that a team decimated by injuries and without established firepower, which has for months looked more like the Binghamton Senators than the Ottawa Senators, would not just be in possession of a playoff spot with less than four weeks to go in the season, but the 6th seed in the East?
The Sens can’t seem to catch a break though, and it appears they’ve finally begun to falter in their efforts to compensate for their diminished star power. This month, Ottawa has lost four of five games and desperately needs star defenseman Erik Karlsson, who suffered a gruesome severed Achilles in February,, to return. Reports say Karlsson may do so come playoff time if Ottawa can maintain its position in the Eastern Conference standings.
This Monday, the Senators will face off with the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden in Boston. Bruins tickets for that matchup run on average $180, which is down three percent this week. That price is two percent higher than the B’s home average, which is $176. Overall, this will be the most expensive Senators-Bruins game played in Boston this year, though tickets are still available for as low as $73.
On the other side, the Bruins are looking like a strong team, but not a Stanley Cup-contending team--not yet at least. It hasn’t helped that concussion woes continue to riddle the B’s lineup year in and year out. This season it’s oft-concussed Patrice Bergeron, but also more recently Brad Marchand, who suffered a head injury earlier this week when elbowed by Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov. For the Bruins to be without those two vital components is devastating. They’ll need both to be healthy by playoff time.
Trade deadline acquisition Jaromir Jagr has certainly been a spark plug, and coach Claude Julien has continued to shuffle his lineup in hopes of finding better chemistry as the team heads down the stretch. One thing’s for certain: it’ll be a dogfight atop the Northeast standings heading into May.
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