OTTAWA -- The Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators will face off in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time beginning with Game 1 of their Eastern Conference First Round series at Canadian Tire Centre on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; Sportsnet, NHLN, SN, TVA Sports 2, NESN).
Here are 5 keys for Game 1:
1. Karlsson 'good to go'
Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, who missed five of the final seven regular-season games with two lower-body injuries, spent most of the morning skate testing his injury with some tight turns. "Nothing new, really. Good to go tonight," Karlsson said. "I wasn't supposed to skate this morning, but I wanted to try a few things out." When asked if he was in pain, Karlsson said: "That's not the real issue. Come tonight it's going to feel a lot better and it's not going to factor into my game too much." Coach Guy Boucher said there were no issues and that Karlsson is 150 percent ready. "He could've played this weekend," Boucher said. "It was our decision to keep him out."
2. The big stage
With injuries to Bruins defensemen Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo, Charlie McAvoy will play his first NHL game. How McAvoy handles the spotlight will influence how coach Bruce Cassidy manages his depleted defense corps. "It feels like I blinked my eyes and a second ago I was at Boston University," McAvoy said. "Now I've already played a stint in Providence (of the American Hockey League) and now I'm here in Ottawa for the playoffs. It's crazy. It's been a whirlwind, but throughout this whole process, I think I've done a good job of catching my breath, stepping back and saying, 'Wow, don't let this moment slip away.'" McAvoy was paired with Colin Miller at the morning skate and Cassidy said he hopes his built-in composure helps him in Game 1.
3. How much does the regular season matter?
The Senators swept the Bruins in their regular-season series. "We're [4-0-0] against Boston," Boucher said. "I'm not looking to change 50,000 things and break something that's not broken. At the same time, I'm aware every game was extremely close." The Senators outscored the Bruins 12-6, but the past two games were each decided by one goal. "We didn't get the results we wanted in the regular season but I thought we played some good hockey games," Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said.
4. Even them up
The Bruins scored one even-strength goal against the Senators during the regular season and Cassidy said they didn't do a good enough job getting to the net. "We need more pop there," Cassidy said. "We've got to play more in their end and get more second and third chances around their net. They do a good job of boxing out and tying up sticks. We've got to get inside and make their goalie work to find pucks."
5. Something special
The Bruins did score five power-play goals on eight opportunities (63 percent). The Senators were 22nd in penalty killing (79.7 percent) and much better at home (85.5 percent, tied for third) than on the road (74.4 percent, 28th). Based on the regular season, the Senators are either going to have to not take penalties or find a way to improve their kill if they are going to win the series.
Bruins projected lineup
Zdeno Chara -- Adam McQuaid
Kevan Miller -- Charlie McAvoy
John-Michael Liles -- Colin Miller
Senators projected lineup
Fredrik Claesson -- Erik Karlsson
Injured: Marc Methot (finger)
Boucher will make two game-time decisions, one at forward and one on defense. He said Methot could play. "If it was Game 7, he'd be playing 100 percent," Boucher said. "It's just now do we want to give him a few more days. Every day has made a gigantic difference." If Methot doesn't play, Claesson will likely replace him. … Cassidy said Krug and Carlo did not make the trip to Ottawa.
Marchand had two points (one goal, one assist) in three games against Ottawa. … Pasternak had a goal and an assist in four games. … Burrows had five points (three goals, two assists). …Hoffman had four points (one goal, three assists). … Turris had three goals. … Anderson was 4-0-0 with a 1.47 goals-against average.
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