A Recap Of The Ottawa Senators’ Roller Coaster Ride So Far


Last night has to be the best night ever for Ottawa Senators fans. They triumphantly defeated the New York Rangers 3-0 on the road, and the Boston Bruins lost their second straight game, putting Ottawa in a playoff position.

Now with just one game left in the season, the Senators can taste the playoffs, but they aren’t there just yet. The odds are that they make it (88.1% according to SportsClubStats), but they still need at least one point on Saturday or a Bruins loss of any kind.

Suffice to say, this season (and specifically the past two months) have been an amazing ride with plenty of ups recently, and a few downs. Even if Ottawa does not make it at this point, the run has been nothing short of magical, and I really do feel as if it turned the franchise around. Let’s take a look at how they got here, in graphical form:

This is the Senators entire season, and the mark they are at right now is the highest percentage they have ever been at. There were some important games of note this year, so here are a few:

October 29th. Record: 5-2-1, 3rd in Atlantic, 78.18% chance

Ottawa had just beaten Columbus for the second time, and a 5-2-1 record was looking good. They were allowing plenty of shots, but they were winning.

November 7th. Record: 7-3-2, 1st in Wild Card, 84.02% chance

Besides today, this was the best position Ottawa had been all year-long in terms of playoff chances. They sat in the wild card, but had at least one game in hand on all of the top three Atlantic teams.

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December 7th. Record: 10-11-5, 5th in Wild Card, 27.76% chance

Ottawa had lost five straight at this point, and Paul MacLean was feeling the heat.

They sat six points out of a playoff spot already, and things were not looking good. The next day they would come back from 3-0 to beat the Vancouver Canucks, which was the last game in the MacLean era. His record this season was 11-11-5.

December 20th. Record: 14-12-6, 5th in Wild Card, 34.52% chance

The Senators killed the Ducks 6-2 the night before, and their record was looking a tad better. They were only two points out of the playoffs, but the Panthers had two games in hand. They wouldn’t have a better playoff percentage until March 18th.


February 8th. Record: 20-22-9, 8th in Wild Card, 2.03% chance

This was the lowest Ottawa ever was. They were hopeless at this point, and I was cheering for them to tank (Don’t get mad, you know you were too). The Carolina Hurricanes were only four points back, and the Boston Bruins were 14 points up. It was pretty awful at this point. Pittsburgh was also 19 points up, Detroit 22 up, and the Islanders 18 up.

Feb 7, 2015; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Columbus Blue Jackets right wing

Cam Atkinson

(13) scores against Ottawa Senators goalie

Robin Lehner

(40) in the third period at the Canadian Tire Centre. The Blue Jackets defeated the Senators 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

February 17th. Record: 22-23-10, 5th in Wild Card, 4.28% chance

After an embarrassing loss to the Hurricanes, almost all fans had lost hope. Sure, they were 2-1-1 in their last four, but Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner were hurt, reluctantly forcing Ottawa to go with a goaltending duo of Andrew Hammond and Chris Driedger. Yes, the Hammond that allowed three goals in the first minute of an AHL game, and the one that Dave Cameron essentially refused to play over Lehner. The consensus was it was time to tank.

February 27th. Record: 26-23-10, 5th in Wild Card, 23.35% chance

In just four games after Lehner went down, Andrew Hammond had given himself a name. His first two wins at home against Montreal and Florida were nice, but Ottawa’s season was likely to be put to rest on the California road trip. Instead, that’s where it all began. At first when Ottawa beat Anaheim, I remember feeling slightly annoyed that they were ruining their draft position. But then the next night, somehow the Senators shut out the Kings as well, the first time any team has had back to back shutouts in California.

After that Kings game, Ottawa was five points out with a game in hand, and I started to believe after that. The next game against San Jose I was cheering hard for them, and they pulled off a massive win to sweep the state. It was still a longshot, but all of a sudden the team had me (and plenty of others) believing in the Hamburglar and the magic of the team.


March 7th. Record: 29-23-11, 4th in Wild Card, 32.84% chance

Ottawa had just beaten Buffalo, and just like that they were three points back of the Bruins, with the same amount of games played. The Panthers were still in the way, but it was only a matter of time before their games in hand would cost them. At this time, Boston’s chances of making it were only 60.18%, and they were slipping.

March 11th. Record: 30-24-11, 4th in Wild Card, 13.95% chance

It was the biggest game of the year, and Ottawa lost to Boston. Their chances took a major hit, and seven points back with a game in hand looked too daunting of a task for the rest of the season. There was still slim hope, but it was fading.

A 6-4 win over the Bruins put Ottawa at over the 50% mark for the first time since the end of November

March 18th. Record: 34-24-11, 3rd in Wild Card, 37.68% chance 

Kyle Turris had just set up Mark Stone for an amazing overtime winner over the Hurricanes, and it was a massive win. They had the highest chances to make the playoffs since December 20th, and they were only four points back with a game in hand.

The very next game was for sure the biggest game of the year, as a 6-4 win over the Bruins put Ottawa at over the 50% mark for the first time since the end of November.

March 24th. Record: 37-24-11, 2nd in Wild Card, 74.07% chance

Ottawa was coming off their seventh straight win, and they sat one point up on Boston with a game in hand. At this point it would have been a surprise if Ottawa missed. On the flip side, the Bruins had only a 33.34% chance, which was an amazing drop from the last few weeks.

March 30th. Record: 37-26-12, 3rd in Wild Card, 25.2% chance

In just six days, things were much more bleak for Ottawa. Losses to the Panthers and Rangers in regulation and the Maple Leafs in overtime made the situation very dire. On the flip side, the Bruins had gone 2-0-1 in those three games, so now Ottawa was three back with a game in hand. With 7 games to play, Ottawa certainly needed to win at least five of them.


April 6th. Record: 40-26-13, 3rd in Wild Card, 26.11% chance

It’s weird to think that this was just four days ago. The Senators had lost to the Maple Leafs in the shootout, and it seemed like destiny that Toronto would ruin Ottawa’s season. They were still two points out with the same amount of games played for three separate teams, and they did not have the tiebreaker on any of them.

April 10th. Record: 42-26-13, 1st in Wild Card, 88.1% chance

In just four days, Ottawa has one twice (including against Pittsburgh in a massive comeback), and the Bruins have lost twice. Just look at that huge uptick at the end of the graph, and that represents just two wins. This is where Ottawa sits right now, and it certainly is not close to over. The Bruins sit at just 15.3% chance to make it, which is quite amazing considering where they were earlier in the year, and especially last season.

Here’s Boston’s graph for this season, which is even more of a roller coaster than Ottawa’s graph:

So there you have it. This has been Ottawa’s ride so far, and it hasn’t ended yet. Ottawa just needs a point on Saturday, and I think they can do it. They know what’s on the line, and they don’t want to have to rely on a Boston loss later in the day.

The good thing is that the Senators play at 12:30, so they could clinch a playoff berth before the Bruins even play. It would save me (and others) heart attacks if Ottawa clinched right away. It’ll be a fascinating day, and I hope they can do it. I have the utmost confidence they will get in, and I can’t wait to watch some playoff hockey.

Next: Turris And Stone Continue Their Excellence