For at least one night, the Ottawa Senators look like geniuses for inserting Erik Karlsson back into their lineup. They also pose a much more worrisome threat as one of the East’s eight playoff teams.
The Senators punched their ticket to the postseason with a 2-1 OT win against the Capitals. While the scoreboard argues that it was a close game, Ottawa out-shot Washington 41-20 in a game the squad needed much more.
Karlsson said there were “a lot of things” that were wrong with his game in Thursday’s return, but it certainly doesn’t seem that way in the box score. The 22-year-old collected assists on both Senators goals (one by Jakob Silfverberg, the winner by Sergei Gonchar) and almost as impressively racked up eight shots on goal. He topped all skaters with more than 27 minutes on ice.
That last bit might make people like Travis Zajac nervous, but so far the gamble has paid off.
This win kills the Winnipeg Jets’ playoff hopes, whether they beat the Montreal Canadiens tonight or not.
Now all that’s left to fight for is seeding. As of this writing, here are the eight East playoff teams in order of current standing position:
6. NY Rangers
7. NY Islanders