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NHL Playoff Picture: East matchups depend on Bruins-Senators

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

The B's and Sens facing will impact more than just them. (Getty Images)
The B's and Sens facing off will impact more than just them. (Getty Images)

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The original plan called for the regular season to be completed by now and all the playoff series to be set. Unfortunately, tragedy struck Boston, and one Bruins home game vs. the Ottawa Senators had to be pushed back to Sunday night.

This one game will affect three series in the East.

Each team has a lot to play for, including a possible first-round series against each other.

With that said, here is a look at how the Eastern Conference will shake out with the four possible outcomes in Sunday's game. Two outcomes are the same: any Senators win.

Bruins get two points, Senators zero

1. Pittsburgh vs. 8. Ottawa
2. Boston vs. 7. NY Islanders
3. Washington vs. 6. NY Rangers
4. Montreal vs. 5. Toronto

Bruins get two points, Senators one

1. Pittsburgh vs. 8. NY Islanders
2. Boston vs. 7. Ottawa
3. Washington vs. 6. NY Rangers
4. Montreal vs. 5. Toronto

Senators get two points, Bruins one or zero

1. Pittsburgh vs. 8. NY Islanders
2. Montreal vs. 7 Ottawa
3. Washington vs. 6 NY Rangers
4. Boston vs. 5. Toronto

From a pure entertainment standpoint, the first option might be the best result for hockey fans. It means we get a Leafs-Habs first-round series, the Penguins-Senators and Erik Karlsson mess will continue, and we would have the Milbury Bowl with the Isles and B's. As you can tell, Washington is facing the Rangers no matter what happens Sunday.

With the way that both the Bruins and Canadiens have played of late, they probably wouldn't mind getting paired with either of those teams in the first round. It sure as heck beats playing the Penguins.

The entire playoff schedule will be announced on Sunday night after the completion of this final game. Odds are that the Bruins and Sens will be part of the last series to begin, made even easier if they play each other.

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