With last night’s win, the Rangers joined the Islanders and the Senators in a tie for the 6th playoff spot, with the Jets 2 points back and the Devils 4 points in arrears.
There is now 5 teams lined up for 3 playoff spots. You can throw the Capitals in as well, since them and the Jets are in a side battle for the third seed as Southeast Division Championships.
The upside is that Ottawa, despite their 5 game losing streak, still holds the advantage as they have more games to play, 9, two more than the Jets and one more than the rest of the pack.
The downside is that the Senators’ reliance on the shootout has left them short in the first tie-breaker, which is Regulation and Overtime Wins (ROW). All things being equal from here on out, Ottawa is behind the Isles, Rangers, and Jets when it comes to ROW. They lead the Devils in that category.
Tonight’s game against the Flyers is vital for the Senators, because a win would put New Jersey almost out of the race, and would keep the Senators ahead of the Jets, even if they should win against Florida tonight.
Best case scenario, the Senators wake up in sole possession of 6th place, 4 points up on 9th place Winnipeg and 2 up on NYI and NYR.
Worst case, the Senators arise Friday morning tied for 7th with the Rangers and Jets on a 6 game losing streak and in grave danger of missing the playoffs.
With 6 teams on the starting line for the final sprint to the Finish, the Senators have a slight head start, while the Jets and Devils are a bit behind. All teams are pretty much in control of their own destiny as a winning streak puts them in very good shape. A losing streak (or in Ottawa’s case continuing a losing streak) of a couple (more) games will put you out.