Just when you think they are out, they pull you back in. I had personally written off any hopes of a playoff spot for the Ottawa Senators after they went 0-for-Alberta earlier this month. Those back to back losses left the Senators 4 points out of the playoffs with 4 teams to pass and 19 games to play.
Well, 10 games later and they are 6 points back with 9 games to play, and 4 teams to pass. The difference is, the Senators schedule is not all that daunting going down the stretch. Their remaining schedule includes 6 home games and 3 road contests. It includes a pair of games against the Islanders, one against the Flames and one against the Hurricanes. They also face 3 of the teams that they are currently in the race against, the Devils, the Rangers and the Maple Leafs.
If you look at each team’s schedule remaining and the way they each has been playing lately, it isn’t exactly a thoroughbred race to the finish.
|PTS L 10 GP||11||9||12||4||9||9|
New Jersey has the easiest schedule in terms of teams they have to face, but they also have a lot of travel, even if it is not very far. They have a road/home/road/home rotation until the last two games so they won’t get a groove going. Toronto is sinking like a stone and have 2 fewer games than anyone else.
Ottawa plays against fewer current playoff-bound teams than anyone except New Jersey and plays 2 games against teams in the mix for the final playoff spots.
Two of the 6 teams above have to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. After more than 3 weeks of counting the Senators out, but then taking a closer look this morning, it still isn’t completely impossible, despite sportsclubstats.com’s calculation that it is a 2.1% chance. Hey it was 0.7 yesterday, so that is something right.
I am still not optimistic at all, but if the Senators can somehow beat the Flames and Hurricanes on Sunday and Monday, it will put pressure on those teams ahead of them and in the Eastern Conference the turtle race currently underway could change in a weekend.
Now that I have put a glimmer of hope in your mind, they will probably lay an egg and lose both games to teams they should beat and make it all moot.
That’s the way this season has gone.