To boil everything down to a simple statement, Monday went about as well as it could for Pittsburgh … and just about the opposite for Ottawa.
The Penguins won 3-1, rattling off the following accomplishments:
- Their seventh win in a row.
- They swept the season series against the Sens.
- Dan Bylsma became the fastest NHL head coach to 200 wins (all with Pittsburgh) while Tomas Vokoun earned his 300th career win.
- Matt Cooke left with all his limbs and vital organs intact. Heck, he even got an assist for his troubles.
If that set of bullet points isn’t frustrating enough for Ottawa, chew on this: the Senators are now very much in danger of losing the playoff spot they’ve pluckily fought for. While the odds still seem like they’re on their side, you can probably see that things look a lot shakier now:
6. NY Islanders – 53 points with three games left (20 regulation/overtime wins)
7. NY Rangers – 52 points with three games left (20 ROW)
8. Ottawa – 52 points with three games left (19 ROW)
9. Winnipeg – 51 points with two games left (22 ROW)
Southeast-leading Washington: 52 points with three games left (22 ROW)
Before moving on to the Senators’ schedule, it’s relevant to note that Ottawa fans are going to be crossing their fingers/toes/pets’ paws that Tuesday’s Jets-Capitals game ends in regulation.
With that note out of the way, here’s Ottawa’s outlook:
Thursday: at Washington
Saturday: home vs. Philadelphia
Sunday: at Boston
At this rate, the Senators might just be the Penguins’ opponent to open the playoffs … assuming they make it.