Everyone's happy except Zack Smith.
If you checked the standings this morning, you would find the Ottawa Senators sitting pretty in the eighth and final playoff spot. They would play the top seeded Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round, this never happens right? Upon closer examination of the standings, the Senators have games in hand on a couple teams behind them. However, unlike the last time the Senators were in a playoff spot, it's not three or four games, but one or two extra games.
With 26 points in 24 games, the Senators are on pace for 89 points. In the six post-lockout seasons, only once would that be enough for a playoff spot. Still, Ottawa is hanging around the lower end of the playoff bubble. Will the club get better as the younger players get more experience? Or will they run out of gas as the season wears on and the team will fall behind the pace?
Ottawa has exactly three goals scored per game, but Craig Anderson also is ranked 36th out of 38 in save percentage among goalies with at least eight games played. Also, the Senators haven't done well against the "elite" teams yet, losing to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston, Vancouver, Detroit and Washington (if they still count as one). They did beat the Rangers once however. On the other hand, they have done very well against the mid-level teams and that would be enough to keep them in the race. Another important factor has been the club's resiliency, having erased a deficit in seven of their 12 wins. Of those seven comebacks, four of them were after trailing in the third period including twice after trailing by two goals (or more) in the third period.
- Game recap. (Silver Seven, Ottawa Sun, Ottawa Citizen, Globe and Mail, Arctic Ice Hockey)
- Stats from NHL.com [Boxscore] [Game summary] [Face-offs] [Play by play] [Ice time]
- Advanced stats from TimeOnIce.com. [Corsi] [Head-to-head] [Zone starts]
- Scoring chances from last night. Ottawa was outchanced 28-21 on the night overall and 20-17 on even strength. Daniel Alfredsson led the way being on the ice for four more scoring chances than allowed. Jared Cowen was a team worst -4 in even strength chances and was on the ice for every 5-on-5 goal the Jets scored. David Rundblad played most of the time with Cowen but Rundblad still managed to be +1. (The 6th Sens)
- Watch the beautiful pass by Erik Karlsson to Jason Spezza for the 4-4 goal, with a nice play by Chris Phillips as well. (Ottawa Senators)
- Filip Kuba was originally brought in to be an offensive defenceman, but he's now becoming Ottawa's best penalty killing defenceman as well as leading the team in shots blocked. (Ottawa Sun)
- Will David Rundblad's first goal ignite his season and lead to more points? He's been scratched for nine games already this season. He's been pretty good in the games he's played in my books. (Ottawa Citizen)
- Here is a video of Rundblad talking to SensTV about his first goal and more. (Ottawa Senators)
- UPDATE: Nikita Filatov will likely play. His nose is fractured, not broken. He didn't return last night due to headache/dizziness from the hit. (Ian Mendes)
- UPDATE: Filip Kuba likely won't play, Paul MacLean says Brian Lee more likely to play than Matt Carkner. (Ian Mendes)
- UPDATE: Chris Neil is ready to return but MacLean wants to be cautious. (Ian Mendes)