Leafs vs. Senators vs. Canadiens. Who's best?

Ottawa Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson (left), Montreal Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban (centre)...

Ottawa Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson (left), Montreal Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban (centre) and Toronto Maple Leafs winger Phil Kessel. (Getty Images/USA Today)

Bruce Garrioch, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:35 PM ET

Does Central Canada have a hope?

As the Montreal Canadiens arrive at the Canadian Tire Centre to face the Senators Thursday, they are the only Canadian team in the East with a solid footing for a playoff spot while Ottawa and Toronto are battling mightily for one of the last playoff spots.

Going into Wednesday night's action, there were nine teams within five points of each other in the standings. An Ottawa victory over the Habs will significantly improve the Senators chances of staying in the hunt in the face to the wire.

After picking up 7-of-8 points by wrapping up their four-game road trip with a 3-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild Tuesday, the Senators find themselves in a lot better position heading towards the 50-game mark than they were at mid-season.

"Our team has been playing better and better," said coach Paul MacLean following the victory in Minny. "The potential was there for us to have success on this road trip and I think that the players have really put in a good, focused, concerted effort to find a way to win some games. They are full marks for it.

"These four games they've really come and played (well). All they've done now is set the table to keep doing it."

That's right.

The Senators can't afford to slip if they want to book a ticket to the dance. Here's how the Senators, Habs and Maple Leafs measure up with the Olympic break just around the corner:


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