Senators News: April 26th; Ottawa 2 Washington 1 (OT)

-Ottawa locked up a playoff spot with a 2-1 overtime victory over Washington last night.  Craig Anderson made 19 saves for the win while Jakob Silfverberg and Sergei Gonchar scored the goals (Ottawa outshot the Capitals 41-20).  Erik Karlsson notched a pair of assists in the win and despite being a half-step slower than his pre-injury form was as vital to the team as ever.  Thoughts: Cory Conacher played a team low 8:53 (drifting into Peter Regin and Jim O’Brien territory); Chris Phillips was undressed by Ovechkin for the Caps lone goal; Jean-Gabriel Pageau looked good in limited ice time; Silfverberg was excellent on both sides of the puck; Kyle Turris was awful on faceoffs.  Here is the boxscore; Scott had the scoring chances 23/9.

Sergei Gonchar, who scored the game winning goal last night, talked about the win:

A lot of guys counted us out of it. We had a lot of injuries in the beginning and I don’t think anybody was believing that we were going to make it. It’s a great feeling because it proves those guys who didn’t believe in us wrong. It was a good feeling. We haven’t been scoring as many goals and to score a game winner to make the playoffs is huge. We’re happy. I’m not just happy I scored a goal, I’m happy we’re going to make it to the playoffs.

Nichols considers Conacher‘s play of late and points out the positives, but clearly (given the rookie’s TOI) he has fallen out of favour with Paul MacLean for the moment.

-All eight playoff teams in the East are set with the Jets losing in regulation last night; positioning is still up in the air, with the Sens able to finish in any of the bottom four positions (sixth is clearly ideal as they would play Washington).

Stu Hackel looks back over the season that was and has this to offer about Ottawa:

That the Senators are even still in the playoff chase — they, too, need a win in their final two contests — is rather astounding considering the horrific run of injuries to their top players. Defensemen Erik Karlsson and Jared Cowen,  goalie Craig Anderson, center Jason Spezza, and winger Milan Michalek all missed time. Spezza played in only five games and has yet to come back, but Karlsson miraculously returned to action against the Capitals on April 25 and logged 27:11 of ice time while contributing two assists in Ottawa’s 2-1 win. It’s a tribute to coach Paul MacLean and team leaders like Daniel Alfredsson and Chris Phillips that the Sens didn’t fold and kept pointing forward through their hard times.

Hackel apparently didn’t realise the win against Washington solidified the Sens playoff spot (as the Jets regulation loss would have anyway), but otherwise he’s spot on.

-Here’s my playoff preview for Binghamton.

Adam Proteau discusses officiating and while I don’t agree with his entire point (his sentiment that the current crop is as good as it gets strikes me as giving up on it improving), I do like this:

Now, I will say that this season has had more than its share of terrible/blown calls and I think the amount of obstruction you see on any given night is still far too much.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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