The Ottawa Senators’ remarkable comeback campaign couldn’t have had a more appropriate finish as once again rookie Mark Stone and 27-year-old (formerly) third-string netminder Andrew Hammond led Ottawa to a 3-1 win over Philadelphia en route to securing a postseason berth.
Stone scored his 25th and 26th goals of the season to extend his points streak to nine games and tie for first place in the rookie scoring race with 64 points in 80 contests. His first goal of the afternoon was partially a matter of being in the right place at the right time as he was capitalizing on a mishandling of the puck by Flyers goaltender Steve Mason. His second marker, however, was very impressive as he calmly stole the puck from Jakub Voracek and then beat Mason one-on-one:
The Senators only needed one point to advance and for a good portion of the first 40 minutes, Ottawa seemed content to just lean on goaltender Hammond in the hopes of at least pushing this game into overtime. As has often been the case since Hammond made his first start of the season on Feb. 18, he delivered for Ottawa. This time around he turned aside 34 of 35 shots to improve to an incredible 20-1-2 this season.
Hammond is 27 years old, which makes him ineligible for consideration for the Calder Trophy, but he only had one game worth of NHL experience going into 2014-15.
For Philadelphia, this was a dreary end to a disappointing season. For the Senators, well, they’re not done yet.