Midway through the second period of Saturday’s final regular-season game, it looked and felt like the clock was finally going to strike midnight on the Ottawa Senators. The score was tied at one against the Philadelpia Flyers; however, the Sens were being out-shot 21-7. If it weren’t for Andrew Hammond, as has been the case during Ottawa’s incredible run, the Sens would’ve been out of it.
During the television timeout, Ottawa coach Dave Cameron took his opportunity to rip into his team. Cameron, who looks like he has stamp collection, was very demonstrative as he conveyed his message.
Whatever he said, it worked.
A little over five minutes after Cameron’s tirade, Marc Methot went coast-to coast on the Flyers and sent the puck toward Steve Mason. Curtis Lazar tapped at the puck before the rebound bounced out to Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who put the Sens up 2-1 with 3:42 remaining in the second.
Rookie Mark Stone scored the first goal for Ottawa in the game on the power play. He put the stamp on the playoff RSVP midway through the second on an unassisted goal. With Stone’s two goals, he’s tied with Johnny Gaudreau for the rookie scoring lead. Gaudreau will NOT be playing tonight. What’s a Calder voter to do?
As the boos rained down in Philadelphia (shocking, right?), the Senators gathered at their goal to celebrate their guaranteed playoff appearance. They deserve the celebration considering what they’ve accomplished.
Fourteen points out of a playoff spot on Feb. 10, the Senators went a remarkable 23-4-4 in their last 31 games … Not since the 1993-94 New York Islanders came from 12 points back has a team closed a larger gap to make the post-season.
This is a team that also had a coaching change, a GM that is battling cancer, various injuries, and multiple goaltenders before landing on an unexpected breakout star in the one they call “The Hamburgular.”
No matter what your particular fan affiliation is, it’s difficult to not root for the Senators. Well, unless you’re a Tampa Bay or Montreal fan, who could face the team next week.