Senators head to Broadway for one of their final acts of the season

When the final buzzer sounds Tuesday against the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden, it will put the final nail in the coffin of a season that started out with promise and hope.

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Usually, anything can change in a New York minute.

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Unfortunately, that opportunity passed the Ottawa Senators by a long time ago as they prepare to close out this disastrous season starting with a visit to Madison Square Garden on Monday night to face the New York Rangers.

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When the final buzzer sounds Tuesday against the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden, it will put the final nail in the coffin of a season that started out with promise and hope, but will end with the same old result of missing the National Hockey League playoffs for the seventh straight year.

Coming off a 5-4 shootout victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday to close out the home portion of the schedule, the Senators were forced to battle back four straight times and it was Thomas Chabot’s late goal with 1:05 remaining that sent this one to OT.

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Drake Batherson beat Cayden Primeau for the winner in the shootout and the Senators have now registered nine straight victories against the Habs. The last time the Ottawa lost to Montreal was on March 19, 2022.

“It’s always nice to win the last one at home for this awesome fan base,” said captain Brady Tkachuk, who had a three-point effort with two goals and an assist. “It was a pretty entertaining game for them, too.

“Hopefully, it left a little positivity and a little momentum going into next year.”

This season has been nothing to write home about for the Senators, and that’s why there will be plenty of changes next year.

They didn’t get off to a good start, they’ve been a little better closer to the finish line of the year, but the Senators got the two points against the Habs because they were able to capitalize three times on the power play and registered 44 shots on Primeau.

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“I think we played a great game overall,” said Chabot, who scored his ninth of the year. “Power play did a great job and I think we just stuck to it and we put a lot of pucks on (Primeau). You’ve got to give him credit. He made some big saves, made some big saves in overtime as well.”

The Senators know they still have business to take care of before this comes to an end. That’s why they’re trying to focus on the final 120 minutes of the year because there will be lots of time in the coming days to evaluate what went wrong and then turn towards next season.

“It’s kind of sad,” said Tkachuk. “Whenever you’re playing, it’s what you want to do. During the summer, you immediately miss the game and especially miss playing in front of this fanbase and city.

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“You want to leave on a high note, but there’s definitely a little bit missing there that we’re hoping to accomplish this year. We just want to give our best effort to support and salute all our fans.”

Tkachuk was in no mood to celebrate the fact that he’s reached a career high in goals with 37 this season.

“In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really mean much,” said Tkachuk, who registered 12 shots on goal. “Like I said this morning, it wasn’t individual goals this year, it was more team goals, and unfortunately we didn’t hit them and I think there’s a lot of lessons to be learned this year.”

Interim head coach Jacques Martin, in his second stint behind the bench, has never been the type to show emotion. He likes to have fun, but he’s an expert at being stoic. Even he couldn’t hide a smile after the Senators beat the Habs in his final home game behind the club’s bench.

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Steve Staios, the club’s president of hockey operations and general manager, asked Martin to take over on Dec. 18 before a game against the Arizona Coyotes and he wouldn’t accept until former captain Daniel Alfredsson agreed to work as an assistant coach.

“It’s been great. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to come back,” Martin said. “I’ve hopefully helped the team understand what it takes to be in the playoffs, how you need to play on a nightly basis and to help the players grow to maybe get better.

“As an organization, we have some work to do, but I think we’re in the right direction.”

The 71-year-old Martin knew he was here for a good time, not a long time.

“I’ve known for a while,” Martin said with a chuckle. “It’s helped to turn the page and be ready for a different challenge.”

The challenge ahead for the Senators in the final games is simply to play the right way. Not a lot has gone right this season and there’s always next year, but shaking off the disappointment of this year will take some time.

“We were just happy to get a win in front of the fans, especially against them to win at home,” Batherson said.

Now, the Senators to bring that same effort to the road. The end is near.

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