Canadian clubs shut out of NHL playoffs

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Los Angeles (AFP)

Canada's hockey humiliation was complete as the Ottawa Senators were eliminated from NHL playoff contention, leaving the post-season without a Canadian club for just the second time.

With 11 days left in the regular season, the Senators were the last team carrying Canada's banner.

They did what they could, beating Winnipeg 2-1, but the Philadelphia Flyers' 2-1 shootout victory over the Washington Capitals officially eliminated the Senators.

The only other time no Canadian team made the Stanley Cup playoffs was in the 1969-70 season.

That season, the NHL was a 12-team, two-division league and the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs, Canada's only two clubs, failed to advance.

By 1978-79, the NHL had merged with the World Hockey Association and number of Canadian NHL clubs rose to six teams. Now there are seven -- and all will be idle come playoff time.

Last season, five Canadian teams made the post-season.

That was an improvement on 2013-14, when only the Montreal Canadiens reached the playoffs.

Montreal, whose 24 Stanley Cup triumphs are the most of any team in the NHL, were eliminated from post-season contention on Saturday -- the first time since 2011-12 they won't appear.

Winnipeg, Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton are bringing up the rear of the Western Conference, while Toronto are in last place in the East.