Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson will sit out of a crucial late-season showdown against the Boston Bruins Thursday night after suffering an injury in the dying minutes of Tuesday's game.
Head coach Guy Boucher confirmed Thursday the Sens' star defenceman is day to day.
The Senators only need one point in their remaining three games to clinch a playoff berth.
But just as important, a win over Boston would put them in a better position to claim either second or third place in the division and avoid a first-round matchup against the Washington Capitals, the league's top team.
Ottawa and Boston are currently tied for second in the Atlantic Division with 94 points, though Boston has only two games remaining. Toronto is in third with 93 points and three games remaining.
The second- and third-place team in the division at the end of the year will meet each other in the first round of the playoffs, while the fourth-place team will likely be the last wild card team and draw the Capitals.
Karlsson missed two games last week with a foot injury, but returned to the team Monday.
Karlsson has 71 points this season and is a likely candidate for both the Norris and the Hart trophies.
The Senators finish their regular season this weekend with a home game against the New York Rangers Saturday and a road game against the New York Islanders Sunday.