The Ottawa Senators have officially clinched their playoff berth and will try their luck in the post-season.
19-year-old rookie Erik Karlsson was the man of the hour in Ottawa on Thursday night, scoring with less than 10 seconds left on the clock to put his Senators in the playoffs with an eventual shootout victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Karlsson’s goal ensured the Senators that they saw overtime and a shootout win ensured that Ottawa would see playoff hockey.
The Senators are now fifth in the Eastern Conference with 91 points.
The victory has to feel good for the Senators, as they missed the post-season last year after making 11 straight playoff appearances.
“It’s a huge point in dramatic fashion and it’s nice to get back in the playoffs,” said Jason Spezza. “We’re excited. After you miss a year I think you appreciate it even more.”
Hobey Baker finalist Bobby Butler also skated with the Senators during the Thursday game, making his debut with the club. He recently signed a two-year entry level contract with the Senators and may see some playoff hockey right out of the gate.
For now, the Senators will have to focus on putting together a solid post-season performance. They’ve got some good things going for them, like the recent play of Spezza and goalie Brian Elliot, and their roster is among the lucky ones in the NHL to be mostly healthy going into the playoffs.
The Sens could surprise some people in the East. They have come through a difficult season and have still managed to pull together as a team, which could make them a threat when the chips are down. Elliot is an unpredictable goalie, too, and his desperation saves are already making waves around league highlight reels. If he’s on his game, anything could happen.
Posted by Jordan Richardson.