Apr 4, 2012, 1:01 PM EST
Tomorrow’s Boston-Ottawa tilt was supposed to be a postseason preview.
Instead, it’ll be more like the preseason.
The big news is that Boston’s resting three of its most important players against a division rival and likely first-round opponent (Boston is the No. 2 seed; Ottawa almost locked into No. 7.)
That said, it’s not an entirely surprising move.
One, the Bruins have played a ton of hockey over the last 12 months with Chara (25:02 a game), Bergeron (18:34) and Thomas (58GP) among the busiest. Two, they’re locked into second place and unable to gain anything from the Ottawa game. Three, why bother giving the Senators a free shot at any of your stars?
The interesting thing to watch moving forward is how other potential first-round opponents handle their regular-season finales. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia (the East’s likely 4-5 matchup) face off in the regular season finale on Apr. 7; the top-seeded Rangers play Washington — currently battling for eighth — in the last game of the year as well.
Out West, current No. 5 seed Detroit hosts No. 6 Chicago on Saturday (the ‘Hawks are just one point back of the Wings) while current No. 7 seed Phoenix plays No. 2 St. Louis on Friday.
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