The good news for the Ottawa Senators is that they avoided total embarrassment against the Washington Capitals on Saturday, winning 4-3 in OT after giving up a three-goal lead. The bad news is that they didn’t really gain significant ground in the Eastern Conference’s playoff race.
With the Florida Panthers now crossed off the list, the Senators are the only team that could knock one of the current top eight out of the postseason. Here’s a quick look at what happened:
Again, Florida’s out after Tampa Bay trounced them
Red Wings 3, Wild 2 (SO)
Detroit fought toe-to-toe with Minnesota (a team in a very similar predicament) and ultimately managed a shootout victory.
(If you don’t like shootouts, this post will make you shudder.)
Senators 4, Capitals 3 (OT)
It seemed like it would be a cakewalk for Ottawa when they took advantage of some 5-on-3 advantages to build a 3-0 lead, but it instead was a nail-biter. Kyle Turris’ OT winner salvaged a win, but Washington made its position in the playoffs – if not the Metropolitan’s third spot -that much more secure.
Really, though, that Turris goal was something.
Islanders 3, Sabres 0
Bruins 2, Maple Leafs 1 (SO)
James Reimer was very close to stealing a win for the spoils-seeking Maple Leafs, but the Bruins managed to wipe the sweat off their brows and gain a (you guessed it) shootout victory.
Pretty zany stuff, huh? And, yes, shootout-haters only get more fuel. Let’s look at the East after Saturday’s relevant games are over (the late games are all West-leaning).
Montreal: 104 points, three games remaining, 41 regulation/OT wins
Tampa Bay: 104 points, two GR, 46 ROW
Red Wings: 95 points, four GR, 37 ROW
Rangers: 107 points, four GR, 47 ROW
Islanders: 98 points, three GR, 39 ROW
Capitals: 97 points, three GR, 38 ROW
Penguins: 95 points, four GR, 38 ROW
Bruins: 95 points, three GR, 37 ROW
Bubble of one
Senators: 92 points, four GR, 34 ROW
It’s obviously not over for Ottawa just yet, but they’ll clearly need some help in this final week. As you can see, they didn’t get much of it on Saturday (although they almost did).