After defeating the second seed Montreal Canadiens in just five games, the Senators’ official Twitter account asked this question:
Remember when Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, Erik Karlsson and Craig Anderson were all injured on February 22 and we were “done”?
— Ottawa Senators (@NHL_Sens) May 10, 2013
Those were some tremendous losses and on another team, any one of those players going down might have been enough to sink their chances of making the playoffs. Look at how the loss of Cam Ward impacted the Carolina Hurricanes or Chris Pronger’s tragic injury has hurt the Philadelphia Flyers for evidence of that.
But the Senators found a way to fight onward and, still without Jason Spezza, their young team is going to the second round.
They certainly got some breaks along the way in this series and the Canadiens weren’t anywhere near full strength for Ottawa’s 6-1 win tonight. Still, the Senators deserve a lot of credit for not just beating Montreal, but coming one loss shy of a sweep.
What lies next for them remains to be seen. The Pittsburgh Penguins will be their next opponent if they can manage to win one of their next two games against the New York Islanders.
The Penguins have struggled against an Islanders team that, at least on paper, has a clear disadvantage. They might face similar problems in a potential series against Ottawa.