The unlikely Ottawa Senators are making a push for the playoffs after winning three straight games. Playing tonight against the struggling Carolina Hurricanes, the Senators have a chance to go into the holiday break with winning four in a row and in a playoff spot.
The Senators had an overhaul in the off-season by hiring new Head Coach Paul Maclean. Maclean came from a much talented Detroit Red Wings to a rather depth deprived, lacking intensity Ottawa Senators. His intentions were to bring a Detroit style of play with an increased grit and toughness. So far, the change seems to be helping.
Jumping out of the gate this season the Senators won one game our of their first six. Bouncing back, the team won six in a row to close out October. November turned into be a little of a struggle, only winning five games of the twelve which the losing ways carried into December. The team seems to be righting the ship though with a possibility of winning their fourth game in a row, and close out three remaining games in December with wins.
Like every team in the NHL, the team’s success is directly tied to the play of the veterans. Captain Daniel Alfredsson is currently on a roll with 7 points in his last three games. Assistant Captain Jason Spezza still continues to be the backbone of the team with 37 points in 35 games and leading all forwards on the Senators with an average of 19:47 minutes of ice time a game. Young, but now considered a veteran, defender Erik Karlsson has an impressive 33 points in 35 games and a plus minus of zero with his team leading 25 minutes and 22 seconds average per game. That ice time happens to be 11th most in the league.
The Senators are on a roll and hope to continue that into the holiday and into the new year. Whether or not they are capable of doing so is another thing. The team continues to have injury problems from star players like Alfredsson and Milan Michalek, as well as a shaky 3.32 goals against average netminder in Craig Anderson. Will the Senators make playoffs? Not quite sure. Is it possible? Considering the Eastern Conference is all out of sorts with the Washington Capitals and the Tampa Bay Lightning both out of a playoff spot currently, you never quite know what can happen.