Senators have been a hot ticket as they prepare for final home game

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Home, sweet home.

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The Senators will return to the Canadian Tire Centre for one night only as they close out the home portion of the regular season with a visit by the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

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There actually has been no place like home for the Senators this season.

  • The Senators have averaged 17,785 fans through 38 home games (that doesn’t include the two games played in Stockholm). The club had an average of 16,757 in 2022-23, so that’s a significant increase.
  • The expectation is the club will have crowd of 19,000-plus for this one against the Habs. It will be sellout No. 19 of this season and that’s up from 15 last season.
  • The club will eclipse the 700,000 mark in total attendance for the first time since the 2015-16 campaign.

Yes, the challenge for the Senators’ president Cyril Leeder and the club’s sales staff is to increase the season ticket base much closer to the league average, but if this club can get its act together on the ice this fan base has shown it will be supportive.

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While the Senators will finish the 2023-24 campaign with back-to-back games Monday against the New York Rangers and Tuesday versus the Boston Bruins at TD Garden, this is one last chance to give their faithful a fond farewell to what has been a disappointing year.

Coming off a 3-2 shootout victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday at the Amalie Arena to wrap up a three-game trip, the Senators would like to go out in style with a win over one of their arch-rivals.

“We want to leave our best effort to our fans,” captain Brady Tkachuk said after the club’s win in Tampa. “We want to leave with a good taste in our mouths moving forward into next year.

“We want to create some excitement, create some energy for hopefully a big season next year. Most importantly, we just want to leave a year that’s had a lot of ups and downs, to leave on a high note with the people that have supported us through thick and thin.”

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Tkachuk did a double-take on the bench Thursday.

Told he’d be up next by interim coach Jacques Martin in the club’s victory over the Bolts, the Ottawa Senators captain had to make sure he’d heard the name correctly.

“When Jacques said I’m going, I almost had a ‘What did you say?’” Tkachuk said.

Maybe Tkachuk thought Martin was calling on teammate Boris Katchouk, so you can forgive his hesitation.

It was his first shootout attempt of the season and the end result worked out well as he went upstairs with a backhander to beat goalie Matt Tomkins and secure the victory as the Senators wrapped up a three-game trip.

“I kind of got out there, still had no clue what I was going to do and I was pretty unprepared,” Tkachuk added. “I was just happy to win it.”

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That was Tkachuk’s first shootout goal in seven career attempts.

“I’m not sure which TV coverage was giving me some grief about my stats in the shootout, so I’m just happy to get one and go from there,” he said.

Martin was just going with the hot hand in this situation. Tkachuk already had scored his 35th of the season in this one and added an assist on a goal by Drake Batherson to tie it up in the third.

This is the second straight 35-goal season of Tkachuk’s career. He has recorded four goals and 13 points in the club’s past 11 games.

The Senators closed out the trip with a 2-1-0 record.


Goaltender Anton Forsberg had one of his best starts of the season in Tampa and was a big reason why the club collected two points.

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He made 24 stops in regulation and overtime, then followed that up by halting all three Bolts shooters. Forsberg is trying to salvage what’s left of this season and there’s a good chance he’ll only get one more start in the club’s final three games.

Forsberg moved his record to 14-12-0 this season in 29 appearances with a 3.30 goals-against average and an .886 save percentage.

Forsberg doesn’t mind the shootout one bit and that was his second win in that format this season.

“I love staying for shootouts and stuff, battling with the guys,” Forsberg said. “We do some in warmups, if I’m not playing I’m out there and I’ll take as many as I have to. I just think it’s a fun 1-on-1 thing to do and it’s worked out pretty well so far this year.”

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The Senators will hold their annual “Shirts off their back” promotion after the game. Pre-selected season-ticket holders will be presented with the game-worn jerseys from the players post-game. The club is encouraging people to arrive at the rink early because of the size of the crowd … We’ll get a better idea after Saturday’s skate, but it doesn’t sound like centre Tim Stutzle will suit up in this one. He hasn’t been feeling right since he took a hit from Florida’s Niko Mikkola 10 days ago and has missed four straight games. Stutzle is still experiencing soreness and there may be no sense taking any risk with three games left in the season.

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