This feeling around the Senators is...different.
It’s been a really long time since I have felt excited about being able to go deep in the playoffs. Even at many points during this season, that seemed like a bit of a pipe-dream. But the thing is, they have a chance.
Do I think they are the best team in the league? No, but they are up 1-0 in the second round, and have a greater than 50% chance to move onto the Conference Finals. That’s not a bad spot to be in. What’s crazy about where Ottawa sits right now is that they haven’t been leading a series in the second round (or later) since 2007. An entire decade without having much hope that they could win a few rounds.
But this season, Ottawa has been defying the odds, and it’s not crazy to think about how far they can go in the playoffs. I feel like I need to strongly preface this with a few qualifiers, so here we go: the Senators are only up 1-0 in the series, and there is a long way to go. It’s certainly far from over, and by no means should the Rangers be taken lightly.
However...what if Ottawa continues to play as well as they have? I don’t see why they wouldn’t win if that were the case. Through seven games, they are above 50% in shots, corsi, fenwick, and high-danger scoring chances, which is a good sign that they are earning these wins.
With a deeper forward group than ever and Erik Karlsson playing out of his mind, I feel like the only thing that can stop the Senators in this series is Henrik Lundqvist. Of course with a bad loss today, these positive sentiments could quickly change.
Ottawa would be a massive underdog against either of those teams, and I doubt any of the mainstream media would be picking them to win. However, that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t have a shot.
Could the impossible actually happen where the Senators reach the Cup Finals? It’s not likely, but it’s far more likely than any of us would have believed in October. I’ll be honest, I’m thinking with my heart for this post, as I always want to believe that something extraordinary can happen.
Having said that, every so often we see a cinderella run from a low seed who gets to the Conference Finals or even the Cup Finals. The Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers did that in 2010, the Tampa Bay Lightning (under Guy Boucher) did it in 2011, and the New Jersey Devils and Arizona Coyotes did it in 2012.
As Eugene Melnyk would say, “anything can happen.”
While I believe the Senators aren’t as good as Pittsburgh or Washington, guys like Erik Karlsson and Craig Anderson have the ability to completely take over a series. Those two teams have superstars as well, but with the way that Ottawa is playing, perhaps they can squeak out some wins.
Of course, the team has to stay focused on the task at hand and win their matchup against the Rangers. But we can dream for a second and think about going to a round that they haven’t been to in a decade. Do you think it would be possible?
Hypothetically let’s say Ottawa beats New York. How confident are you that they’d be able to beat Washington or Pittsburgh as well?
This poll is closed