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While the Ottawa Senators' final position in the Eastern Conference standings is still to be determined, it's looking more and more like they'll be playing past the end of the regular season.
The Senators will try to get back to the business of hockey Tuesday night against the visiting Carolina Hurricanes, one day after tragic events in Boston forced the postponement of their matchup with the Bruins.
Ottawa was scheduled to conclude a seven-game road trip Monday night in Boston, but the NHL postponed that game in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings. No makeup date has been scheduled.
"The thoughts and prayers of the entire Ottawa Senators organization are with those people affected by today's tragic events in Boston," general manager Bryan Murray said in a statement. "We fully support the National Hockey League's decision to postpone tonight's game. Our entire team is safe and together."
The unplanned day off comes at an opportune time for the Senators (21-14-6), who would've been playing their third game in five nights. They started the trip with four straight losses - giving them a five-game skid - before rebounding with wins over Philadelphia and New Jersey.
Craig Anderson made 33 saves for his third shutout of the season in a 2-0 victory over the Devils on Friday. Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Milan Michalek scored second-period goals for the Senators, who were originally scheduled to close the regular season with five of six at home, where they are 13-3-3.
"We've done a good job of staying positive," captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "We lost five in a row but our fourth and fifth games we felt we were going in the right direction. The last two wins are a reward for that hard play, and you build some confidence from that."
Consecutive wins have kept the Senators in sixth place in the East, one point ahead of the New York Islanders and four in front of ninth-place Winnipeg with one game in hand on both teams.
Pageau has provided a boost with a goal and an assist in his first two NHL games, and Michalek scored in his return after missing 15 games because of injuries.
Although the Hurricanes are all but eliminated from the playoff race, Ottawa has no reason to look past them. Carolina (17-22-2) has won both meetings this season and four in a row in the series, giving up four goals during that run.
The Hurricanes will be coming off a win for the first time in two weeks after beating the Bruins 4-2 on Saturday to end a seven-game losing streak. Jiri Tlusty scored twice and Justin Peters turned aside 28 shots in the team's second win in 16 contests.
"I'm happy for the guys," coach Kirk Muller said. "They've been playing like that for a while. Tonight they stuck with it and played an intense, energized game against a good hockey club. They played the right way and finally got some reward for it."
Muller's club had allowed 32 goals during the skid and has been outscored 13-4 during three consecutive road losses.
Peters has never faced the Senators, while Dan Ellis made 33 saves in a 1-0 win against them in Raleigh on Feb. 1.
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