Home is where the ice is

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:39 AM ET

BOSTON -- The Senators will have one eye on the Penguins and both hands on their fate tonight.

A win tonight against the Bruins and the Senators will have home-ice advantage for their first-round playoff series next week against the Pens.

Both the Senators and Penguins, who host the Rangers tonight, are tied with 103 points in the Eastern Conference standings and if they remain tied after tonight, the Senators will get fourth place in the conference by virtue of having more wins.

"Game 7 is what we're playing for," said Senators coach Bryan Murray. "If it goes that far, to me, that's what we're playing for (tonight). If it's not a close series, that's a different thing, but I expect it will be.

"I don't care where we start. I care somewhat where we finish."

A victory by the Devils on Thursday night assured them of the Atlantic Division title, making it impossible for the Penguins to catch them for second seed in the East and setting up a meeting between the Senators and Penguins.

The series will start Wednesday or Thursday.

BRUINS 'A WEIRD TEAM'

With winger Dany Heatley chasing his second straight 50-goal season -- he needs just one tonight to get there -- the Senators will be facing a Bruins team that has given them trouble this season.

The Senators are 3-4 against Boston and the B's have gotten some good goaltending from journeyman Tim Thomas.

"They're a weird team, a Jekyll and Hyde team," said Senators centre Jason Spezza. "Tim Thomas, when he plays against us, is a Vezina Trophy winner and then you watch some nights and he lets in some soft goals.

"We haven't been consistent against them. We definitely don't take them lightly. It's hard to take a team lightly that we haven't had success against."

If the Senators had managed to beat the Penguins Thursday night instead of losing to them 3-2, tonight's game would have been a mop-up with Heatley's quest for 50 the only real story (Heatley's had good success against the Bruins this year, too, with five goals in seven games so far).

Resting players is not an option, said Murray, who was reserving his choice of starting goaltender until talking to starter Ray Emery. If Emery wants to play, the net is his.

"I assume he'll play, but I at least want to give him the opportunity to talk about it," said Murray.

The Senators do have an injury as defenceman Tom Preissing left Thursday's game with a sore groin. He said it shouldn't keep him from being ready for the playoffs.


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