With the Senators playoff chances gone, the team is left to play out the balance of the season. In situations like this, players often talk about playing for pride; some have an eye toward improving their next contracts. But what do fans want to see from the team when the season is lost and there are still games to play? What would a positive end to the season look like?
Perhaps the most straightforward answer is wins. After a disappointing season and a series of blowouts after the Olympics, getting back on the winning track will generate some positivity moving into an incredibly important off-season. Since Anaheim holds Ottawa's first round pick, any move up the standards lessons the impact of that loss.
2) Youth Movement
The last few games have seen some of Ottawa's younger and more inexperienced players get a chance to shine. With Chris Phillips out of the line-up, Patrick Wiercioch has seen some action this week and looked quite good. Mark Stone joined Mike Hoffman as part of Ottawa's forward ranks and both have chipped in a little offensively. While blown-out several times this month, Robin Lehner strung together three good starts before Craig Anderson resumed the starters role on Friday night. Without the playoffs to look forward to, it makes sense for the organization to see what it has with these young players.
3) Career highs
Clarke MacArthur, Kyle Turris, and Erik Karlsson have already set career highs in goals this season. Erik Karlsson has a chance to lead the team in goals, assists, and points. He also has a chance to reach his career high (and team record for defenseman) in points. MacArthur has an outside chance to reach his career high in points. Turris has already smashed his previous record. These achievements might seem a little hollow to players and fans that hoped for the playoffs, but nevertheless are markers of progress in a difficult season.