May 1, 2017, 12:25 PM ET [7 Comments]
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The Ottawa Senators are just continuing to do what they have done all season. They have stuck with their system, one that was built for the playoffs.
They were the only team with a negative goal differential to make the playoffs (Calgary was next closest at +5), but that might be a blessing in disguise. Playing tight, close games was a regular occurrence for the Senators. That stat alone had most people (outside of the fan base and organization itself) dismissing them, but they have turned around and used it to their advantage.
In their 82 game regular season, Ottawa played 40 games that were decided by one goal, and that doesn't include any that may have had an empty netter either way. In those games, they went 21-9-10. It wasn't the most wins, highest winning percentage or even the most 1 goal games in the league, but it got them to the playoffs, and they have continued to have success in those close games, winning 6 of 8 so far and 4 of 5 games that have gone to overtime.
It harkens back to the last time a Canadian based team won the Stanley Cup, way back in Ottawa's first year back in the league. The Montreal Canadiens went on an improbable run, one that included a ridiculous 10-1 record in overtime. Thirteen of the twenty playoff games Patrick Roy & co. played were decided by 1 goal (the other 7 had a margin of 3 or more goals), and Montreal went 12-1 in one goal games.
Ottawa still has a long way to go to not only win this series and should they do that they will have a pretty major roadblock in either the Penguins or Capitals, but at least they have opened some eyes of some of the non-believers, most of who had given them little chance to down the analytic-darling Bruins let alone the Rangers.
On a good note, the extra day between games will do nothing but help the Senators. Clarke MacArthur skated today with the team and could be available for Tuesday night, which is fantastic news considering the circumstances on how he left game 2, and worries about a recurrence of concussion symptoms. Guy Boucher said it wasn't concussion related and while the playoffs are sometimes about gamesmanship, you have to think they would play around with this situation.
Erik Karlsson did not skate today, hopefully just a maintenance day and a chance to rest and maybe get some treatment on his injured left foot/ankle.