One of the biggest games of the Senators short history will happen tonight, on the last Saturday night of hockey in Canada, when they meet the Philadelphia Flyers to determine their post-season fate. They rely on two other teams who will be playing games tonight too, Boston and Pittsburgh, and even though the chances are low, the Sens could get squeezed out. This is the biggest ‘Must Win’ game of the year.
OTTAWA @ PHILADELPHIA
The Ottawa Senators need just a single point against Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon to become the fifth Canadian team to reach the 2015 NHL playoffs. They are just one point away from the promised land, and with dramatic fashion it all comes down to one game, the last game. Nothing could be more exciting for their fans. Their fate is in their own hands as their mantra should be: win and you’re in. The Sens are coming off a surprising 3-0 win over the New York Rangers, and have been on an incredible run where they’ve now won 22 of their past 30 games starting February 10. An impressive and unlikely record of 22-4-4. Their odds look good to continued success as they’ve earned 48 of a possible 60 points over that span, 20 more points than the Penguins and 16 more than the Bruins in the same stretch. The Sens chose the right time to get hot and all they have to do is take that heat into more one game against the erratic Flyers.
When you look back to February 10th, Ottawa was one point behind the now defunct Toronto Maple Leafs and tied with the Columbus Blue Jackets for 13th place in the conference overall. That’s a huge leap to make where as the teams they surpassed went in exactly the opposite direction.
Coming into Saturday’s match-up, Ottawa has the top wildcard position, with only one point ahead of Pittsburgh and a nervous two points ahead of Boston. They are also one point behind the Red Wings. Depending on how these three teams play will determine several different clinching scenarios for Ottawa.
- If Ottawa gets just one point vs. Philadelphia, no matter what Boston or Pittsburgh does they clinch.
- If Boston loses to Tampa Bay in any way (overtime, shoot-out or regulation) on Saturday night, they clinch.
- If Pittsburgh loses against Buffalo in regulation, they clinch.
The likelihood of any of these three possibilities is high, but that doesn’t mean they could not get squeezed out, if both Pittsburgh and Boston win, the Sens are out, losing a tie-breaker to Boston. For the truly optimistic, there is even a chance that Ottawa could catch Detroit but that is less likely. The Sens can finish as high as third in the Atlantic Division if they win Saturday and Detroit loses to Carolina in regulation. This would avoid a first-round match-up with the Rangers. But after their 3-0 win against them this week, maybe they do not want to avoid them? Whatever the outcome the Sens should give everyone a run for their money.
Rick Chiarelli, Senators GM told media pregame, “The Sens have become an inspiration for everyone who needs to understand the importance of believing in themselves and relying on the other members of their team.”
Phil Birnbaum, a hockey mathematician who simulates statistics to predict the season’s outcome told media. “The Sens won once and Boston lost twice and that was the best combination of those three games that could’ve happened for Ottawa. I think it’s a pretty great story of how the Sens came from behind when everyone thought they were out of playoffs only a month ago … and now they have a chance.”
Now they really do have a chance, let’s see what they do with it. In our estimation this game should be a great bet.
Our Pick: Senators over Flyers, win in OT