On Wednesday, April 12, at 7pm ET, the Boston Bruins (A3) begin Game 1 of the first round in the 2017 playoffs at the Ottawa Senators (A2).

Season Series: OTT 4-0-0

Need to know: Senators

Like the Bruins, Ottawa was not in the playoffs last season and returns this year second in the division. This the first time the Senators and Bruins have met in the playoffs. During the regular season, Ottawa’s success against Boston was largely due to the 1-3-1 trap that the Bs could not seem to solve. If Ottawa continues to slow down Boston’s breakout and limit offensive chances, this will be a very low scoring series and in the end favor Ottawa. Craig Anderson is most likely to be between the pipes for the entire series. This is the feel-good story of the season for the Sens, as he has missed stretches over the season due to his wife battling cancer. The Sens success has been in large part on the hands of defenseman Erik Karlsson. He is set to be in action tonight, but has been battling a lower-body injury. His continued and improved health is key to stopping Boston’s offensive threats in its first two lines.

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Need to know: Bruins

After a very unpredictable season, the Bruins finished third in the Atlantic Division. Since the hiring of Interim Head Coach Bruce Cassidy in February, Boston finished the season going 18-8-1. But, it’s no secret the Bruins have struggled against Ottawa. However, the more these teams saw each other, the more the Bruins seemed to figure out how to move through the neutral zone trap. I believe in the seven-game series, Boston will figure it out and finally be able to open up the scoring. Special teams heavily favorites the Bruins as well. They finished the regular first in the penalty kill at 85.7% and seventh on the power play at 21.7%. Ottawa is ranked last on the power play between all the teams in the playoffs.

The Bs are coming into Game 1 tonight battling injuries. Defensemen Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo are both out for at least Game 1. Neither traveled with the team to Ottawa, but there is a small chance they could meet the team prior to Game 2. With these injuries, Charlie McAvoy will be making his NHL debut. Nothing says pressure like making your NHL debut in a post season game as a top four defenseman. On the offensive side of things, Noel Acciari is also out tonight with an upper-body injury. Moore and Krejci have been marked as day to day recently but are both set to play tonight. Brad Marchand is back in the line up after facing his two-game suspension to end the regular season. The one non-question mark coming into tonight is Tuukka Rask between the pipes. The Bruins have relied heavily on him throughout the regular season.

Projected Lineup:

Marchand – Bergeron – Backes

Stafford – Krejci – Pastrnak

Beleskey – Spooner – Vatrano

Schaller – Moore – Nash

Chara – McQuaid

K. Miller – McAvoy

Liles – C. Miller