Well, well, well, remember that time (just a few days ago) when we needed a win to clinch the playoffs? Well CROSS THAT OF THE TO-DO LIST. But just because there’s a guaranteed playoff spot doesn’t mean we’re done playing. Seeding is still up for grabs and with 2 games remaining in the regular season, every point is now incredibly important as the team has visibility on all 3 open seeds.
22-22-3, 12th in the Eastern Conference
24-16-6, 7th in the Eastern Conference (Clinched)
Puck Drop: 7:00 PM
TV: CBC, RADIO: Team 1200
HEAD TO HEAD
Earlier this month the Senators and the Flyers squared off for game two for their season series. Ottawa took the game 3-1, bringing the series square. After punching their ticket to the playoffs last night, the boys will be looking to take the series win and guarantee a playoff berth above the New York Islanders. The last time the teams met, the go ahead goal was scored by Sergei Gonchar, snapping the 5 game losing streak the team had found themselves in.
(Picture above: Ole Magic Hands is a big fan of #HartnellDown)
Do I need to do this? We all remember the last game right? It got underway, and I mean really got underway with an Erik Karlsson blast from the point, with a slick little deflection by Jakob Silfverberg. It was all very pretty, especially because that pass came from King K. While the first two periods were fairly even from a gameplay perspective, the third period was an absolute blowout, which is surprising because only Washington Scored. Ottawa was all over the Capitals and came out in the third as an entirely different team. The boys took the game 2-1 in overtime off a Karlsson pass to Gonchar who potted a Power Play goal. Also of note, capitalization on the Power Play, they started slow, but started to gel, so I’ll tentatively give them the capitals.
Philadelphia meanwhile actually did Ottawa a favour in their last game. A 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders kept the seeding race alive and well. The Flyers have been playing well and in the game looked like they were embracing their role as spoilers, which is important because they didn’t really have much to cheer about for the rest of the season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Erik “#lalala” Karlsson – OTT – I know, it’s a repeat of last games player to watch but just hear me out. Karlsson had 2 points in his return to the ice. He had 2 points and he complained his gameplay wasn’t good enough. The kid is 2 things, all heart, and a perfectionist. Keep your eyes peeled for him to keep pushing himself for th playoffs. Also, there’s chemistry between him and Silfverberg and some Mika Zibanejad. I’m also eyeing a Zibby breakout tonight.
Wayne Simmonds – PHI – The last time these two teams met up, Simmonds was doing what he does best, being a threat. He was buzzing around the net. To be fair, he’s always a threat, but the last 2 times we’ve played them he has looked like a solid player out there.
3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
- THE. POWER. PLAY. Just because I gave the team capitals today, does not mean I won’t take them away by the end of the night. Don’t push me, I may, or may not have the authority for this. Having King K back means there’s some more fluid movement going around between the pointmen and the high forward. Tonight, let’ hope Kyle Turris aims half an inch to the left and avoids the post. If the team can get this power play going as we approach the playoffs they become just that much more dangerous.
- Heart. The win put them into the playoffs. There’s only 2 games left in the season now and this is where the heart and soul that the PeskySens have embodied will really pay off. The team needs to push the pedal down just a little further, not let off.
- The Spoilers. Philadelphia has officially zero chance of making the playoffs. We’ve known that for awhile. The Eastern Conference playoff picture is finalized as far as teams. Seeding still matters and because of that one simple fact, the Flyers have something to play for. Ottawa needs to watch out for this, as much as they’re going to play pedal down, the Flyers will be doing the same.
CLARKE’S BOLD GAME PREDICTION
There are 2 things I know for sure. Marc Methot was seriously excited to make the playoffs. Seriously, I will not let this go until every has seen it and spent time, endlessly basking in the glory of his hulk up shout. The second thing? Mika Zibanejad likes putting pucks in nets. Tonight is a 2 goal night, that’s my call.
Maybe there will be an injection of levity amongst the team. Maybe the team will overflow with the heart and soul, but tonight’s game is so much more important than the game against Washington. It doesn’t have the same must win implications, but it has playoffs implications. If the team wants to make a deep run into the second season, they need to go into it swinging, and tonight is their chance to prove theres no clinching hangover.
As always, GO SENS GO!