Are the Senators still a playoff threat?

Assuming the Senators squeak into the playoffs, which could be anywhere from 4th to 8th place, are they still even a threat in the playoffs? Many people will look to their experience and past ‘success’ (especially last year’s Final’s appearance) as evidence that they are still to be feared. They still have plenty of offensive production, as seen by their 252 goals to date (2nd best in the NHL, just four goals behind Montreal), but their goaltending has been questionable. They are 12th worst in the East, 25th worst in the NHL and worst among all playoff teams for Goals Against. Worse still, their record of late has been appallingly atrocious. They are 1-4-1 in their last six games and have won only 13 of 37 games following a 29-10-4 start.Are they really to be feared?

Since the big Stillman and Commodore trade for Eaves and Corvo, the Sens have never really clicked, while the Canes have gone on one of the best NHL records since that trade.

Ottawa could hypothetically play any of:
Pittsburgh
Montreal
Carolina (a strong possibility)
NJ
NYR

heck, even Philly and Boston have a chance at getting the 4th or 5th seed with Ottawa taking the other spot.

Which of these teams does Ottawa have the best chance at overcoming in the first round?
Can they even beat any of these teams?

Lastly, are you at all afraid to play Ottawa in the 1st round?

The Penguins got dismantled by the Sens last year, so I’d prefer avoid them and face the Bruins, Flyers and certainly the Caps. But I don’t fear the Sens as much as I did even a month ago. This could be dangerous thinking, but it could be pragmatic as well. The Pens would have a lot to prove to themselves and have a lot more weapons and confidence this year than the Sens. They’d also have home ice.

Personally, I’d love the Senators to have to face the Devils or Rangers to eliminate one of these powerhouses. What do Sens fans think? Who could they beat in the 1st round? Who would you most like to face in the first round?

How about the Habs? Do Habs fans think they’d overcome the Sens? Do you even really want to find out?

PS. I wrote and submitted this article before the Habs vs. Sens game, but have updated the stats since the Habs shutout win.


95 Responses to Are the Senators still a playoff threat?

  1. BruMagnus says:

    One more question to add:

    Will the Sens even make the playoffs? They are currently in 6th, a point ahead of Philly and Boston and 2 of the Caps and Canes. They have played an extra game than the Flyers and Bruins, but the same as the Caps and Canes, with a better record (wins and then less regulation losses).

  2. leafy says:

    Last year is last year.  If the Pens played Ottawa THIS year, Pittsburgh would win handily.  Instead, IT'S WASHINGTON that Pittsburgh needs to worry about more.

    Don't be fooled by the regular season stats.  They are heavily swayed by games that were played BEFORE Washington's resurgence when they were in the East basement.  Since the New Year, the Caps have one of the best records in the entire league….and probably the best player.  You don't want to play them, believe me.  If they get in the playoffs, look out.

  3. jimbob says:

    After witnessing tonights game, all I can say is they won't make the playoffs.  They won't beat boston, washington is way too hot, and they have lost the season series to Philly and washington.

    If they do, Montreal is not the same team that lost to Ottawa earlier this season, if they play Montreal then I think the sens will be embarassed.  If they play pittsburgh, they may beat them but won't go far after that.  The devils are certainly not on their game either, but they have one guy that can step up, so that matchup is up in the air.  The rangers the sens can beat, but Lundqvist can single handedly beat the senators if he steps up in the playoffs.  If washington takes the division, and matches up with Ottawa, even though the sens were swept, i think that too much inexperience will cost the caps.  Carolina is going to advance vs the sens without problem.
    So to answer your question, I don't think the senators are in any shape to do any damage in the playoffs.  They simply can't play anymore.

    This might be an interesting off-season.  Though redden is probably gone, I'm wondering who else they are thinking of taking out of the lineup.  Spezza has apparently become disliked in the dressingroom (according to rumors on a radiostation), but Fisher has had one strong game since january, and the sens lost that game.  Murray may have lost patience with Vermette and maybe even Meszaros.  I think Phillips is (or at least should be) untouchable, he has been a defensive force for the sens. 
    I'm a sens fan, i'm already looking towards next season.

  4. leafy says:

    Interestingly, way back in late-January, Ottawa and Philly were No. 1 and 2 in the East.  That's when I boldly predicted that Philly would crash and miss the playoffs.  I think I may have picked the wrong team.

  5. wheresthesoda says:

    I fear Boston more even if they are missing Chara and Savard (kidding)

    This Sens team definitely lost some respect from the NHL by there pathetic play. For the Rangers I'm not scared at all if we had to play Ottawa in the 1st round or 2nd round or any round.

  6. BruMagnus says:

    I remember, because I too said I thought the Flyers and Bruins would eventually fall outta contention, and the Sabres might resurge, but then following the Campbell trade I said they'd falter as well. I will admit to my surprise that the Caps are now tied with the Canes in points, albeit less points. I really didn't think the Caps had what it took to try to win the division. I was right about the Panthers failing like always, and the Thrashers joining them (especially after losing Hossa). The SE is still in the Canes' hand.

  7. BruMagnus says:

    I'll say this much, I would much much rather play the Caps than the Canes in the first round. The Pens have always had limited success against the Canes, and they've just gotten some injured players back to boot.

    I am still not afraid of the Caps. We match up well with them and are better in every area, excepting Ovechkin as a winger.

    I am not totally confident playing against any of Philly, Boston or the Canes, because those first two are so enigmatic for the Pens. But I'd heavily prefer them to the Rangers (my most feared now) and even the Devils (despite their slide). I'd rather play the Caps than all those teams. The Sens…. I sure hope we'd beat them, but some mental psychology could work against the Pens.. then again it could work for them too.

  8. BruMagnus says:

    I agree. The Rangers would tool the Sens in 5 games methinks.

  9. HABSSTAR says:

    I don't think Ottawa has a chance at taking out any team in the East in the first round.  This team is broken and only a shadow of it's former high octane selves.

    Unless their goalies pull some type of a talent rabbit out of their asses it is going to be an early spring in Ottawa…if they even manage to squeak in.  How the hell did it all go sooooooo wrong?  Oh ya that's right that team has Emery Cancer! 

    As a Habs fan I have no fear of this team.  What a year! Two exercisms in one year..NJ…and now Ottawa…must be all the Catholic Churches in Montreal.   LOL!

  10. HABSSTAR says:

    I would not want to face a Raging Ovechkin and a stoked up Caps team if I had my choice.  I'll make you a deal Bru…if they get #8 your Pens can have #1.  They shouldn't win a series like that, but then again they shouldn't be challenging for a playoff spot.  Teams that don't know what they shouldn't be doing are dangerous. LOL!

  11. LeafsNation91 says:

    With the big three locked up, this team might pull a Toronto Maple Leafs and crash and burn.

    That is what you get for firing John Muckler. That was pointless and stupid, he created one of the greatest built franchises in a long time and, what, get rid of him so Bryan Muyrray could ***** it up? Good job taking pages from the MLSE Ottawa.

    That Corvo trade was the worst trade ever for Ottawa.

  12. habsrock99 says:

    It is quite sad. I had the Sens winning the Cup this year and as of this moment, look like they're going to miss the Play-Offs.

    I'd like to change my prediction lol, it'll be a Habs/Pens vs Ducks/Sharks Finals this year. With my Darkhorse being the Caps, I just have a feeling Ovie's gonna dominate the Play-Offs and they are the only team in the NHL I don't want to face in a 7 game series.

    What this reminds me of is last year's MLB Play-Offs, with the Sens being the Mets, the Caps being the Rockies, the Wings being the Yankees, and the Habs and Pens being the Indians and Padres respectively. BTW, my Red Sox are the Ducks lol

  13. BruMagnus says:

    I totally agree. That's why I'm wary of playing the Bruins or Flyers, because those teams certainly don't know what they are doing either!

  14. BruMagnus says:

    One player alone cannot win a Cup, not even Gretzky could do that for the Kings. Now I'll admit the Caps are no longer a one player team, but their depth is limited. They'd be a very very darkhorse… that is if they even make the playoffs. The Rangers are perfectly set up for a long playoff run and remain my darkhorse.

  15. BruMagnus says:

    So you think Pittsburgh would be the most favorable matchup for the Sens?

  16. Rysto says:

    Ottawa has the talent to beat any team in the East.  But clearly, they have to find their on switch, and fast.

    Of course, it must be noted that Gerber's a bad enough goalie to <i>lose</i> to any team in East as well.  So that's another strike against the Sens.

    I think that the real interesting question is, "Will Ottawa win any playoff games this year?"

  17. Habs_pm says:

    If the sens lose their last 2 games and Washington gets 3 points Ottawa it OUT!!!!

    WOULD BE THE BIGGEST CHOKE IN NHL HISTORY

  18. leafsfan86 says:

    ouch man….that must've hurt…i gotta say im pretty excited to see where the habs go…i do NOT think they will win the cup because detroit, dallas and the POWERHOUSE SAN JOSE…man san jose is gonna rip up the nhl this year…no mercy

  19. leafsfan86 says:

    talk about jumping on the bandwagon…i guess its expected after montreal cant hold more than sport…soft

  20. leafsfan86 says:

    god that would be LOOOOOVELY…but the habs are still in the playoffs :(….well i guess its alright see if the team that wasnt anybodys pick to make it as far as they did…wow impressive

  21. senators101 says:

    As much as I want Ottawa to succeed, it won't happen this year.  If you look at the past few years, the team losing in the finals haven't even made the playoffs.  We're simply out of gas now and have decided to run the wrong goalie.   Paddock overplayed alfie and simply, he's too tired.

    I honestly think that if they make the playoffs, it'll be an accomplishment of its own (as much as they should be there).  A long summer will be good for them.

  22. leafy says:

    Completely agree on San Jose.  They're my pick to win the Cup.

  23. jimbob says:

    sens seem to have their number

  24. wayne2 says:

    True about Corvo but the only reason it happened is becaude Redden refused to wave his no trade clause.

  25. leafy says:

    I think you're right.  Looking back at history, there have been many playoff chokes throughout the years.  But I can't think of even 1 regular season collapse as big as Ottawa's this year.  Mind you, they could still make the playoffs with 2 games to go.

  26. muckies says:

    It all comes down to the Toronto Game on Thursday.  The Senators HVAE TO BEAT THE LEAF OR THEY WON'T MAKE THE PLAYOFFS.

    Toronto and Ottawa on Thursday will be a huge game – biggest game of the season for both teams no doubt about it. Toronto could knock Ottawa out of the playoffs with a huge performance. It'll be an amazing game
  27. hockey_lover says:

    Ottawa CAN be a playoff threat, providing they REALLLLLLY pick up the slack and start playing like they can play.

    They have the talent on the team to make some noise but I dont believe the goaltending is steady at all. Gerber is inconsistant and Emery is well, insane apparantly lol

    If they play like they did last years playoffs or like the first 20 games of this season, then yes, they are a threat. If they play like they have in the last two months, they are out in 5 games … I dont care who they play.

  28. HABSSTAR says:

    San Jose has been everyone's pick to win the cup every year for the last 3-4 years it seems.  Thornton needs to show up in the playoffs.  He has a good career going but it's somewhat sullied by his playoff no shows.  They might do it this year however, I just wouldn't bet on it.

  29. HABSSTAR says:

    OK, but Roy did it twice for the Canadiens!

  30. HABSSTAR says:

    I would suggest that the biggest games of the season are waaaaayy past Toronto…something about a must win 2 game series against the Bruins…

    Wow that'll will be two years in a row where Toronto's going to have to content itself with simply ruining another Canadian team's playoff hopes…I guess if that's all you have to play for than you might as well take pride in it.  But that…and the fact they like to sign useless free agents with their best playing days behind them…is why I like to call the New Your North Maple Leafs. LOL!

  31. BruMagnus says:

    I can't disagree with that assertion.

  32. BruMagnus says:

    I tend to agree. I thought the last two years were the Sharks' years, but there's something lacking from their team, I dunno what. Maybe Campbell will help, but still, I think they lack real depth. If they won, I would bow down to the logic that defense and goaltending win championships, because this team clearly lacks offense.

  33. BruMagnus says:

    I stand corrected. One goaltender can certainly do it, but one player (non-goaltender) cannot.

  34. BruMagnus says:

    That's not true.

    Let's not forget that the Flyers have three games left, 2 against the Penguins and 1 versus the Devils, who are only 2 of 3 teams (the Habs the other) to have clinched a playoff spot. In essence, the Flyers have the most difficult schedule and may find themselves with 0 points out of it. Personally, I think they win at home against the Pens and perhaps get to OT with the Devils, but really I don't expect more than 3 points, and certainly not 5.

    The Canes and Caps also need to basically win both of their remaining games (and they each have the easiest opponents in TB and Florida). It's probable they will win both, but their SE rivals could play a HUGE spoiler.

    Ottawa is still a safe bet to make it, especially since they play the Leafs.

  35. cartino says:

    I’d have to disagree with you on the choke comment. Their have been worse chokes than a team that went to the finals, then got off to a 15-2 start and missed the playoffs.

    Their have been teams that have won the president’s trophy who miss the playoffs teh following year (ie Buffalo this year, or the Rangers awhile ago), and their have been teams that have won the stanley cup and missed the playoffs next year (ie New Jersey after their first cup win… I recall a horrible Ottawa team smoked them on the last game of the season to stop them from making the playoffs).

    Is it an embarrassement, I’m a a Sens fan and would have to say yes.. I’m not too optimistic about this year and already thinking what they’ll do in the offseason.. Quite frankly they’re not going to win.. it would almost be better if they missed the playoffs.. Have Eugene Melynik lose his mind, and make some whole sale changes to the team.. Am I going to cheer for them to lose the last 2 games.. Absolutely not win.. and keep hopin til the ride ends!!

  36. cartino says:

    I think Sens fans also have to realize that the team is having a horrible year but they still have a good core and a very talented team that can be fixed.

    I would also add that we should be very thankful we were able to sign Heatley+Spezza early on in the Season before the collapse happened, if not trust me both players would be looking to bolt along with everyone else and Ottawa would not be good team after that.

    Personally if I were Murray (and if he's still around, i'd keep him though) I would do the following:
    -Get rid of any cancer in the lockerroom via, trade, waive, or buyout. This goes from Emery's antics (buyout), trade Vermette (*****in' about his ice-time), make a decision on Redden (I wouldn't pay him more than 3ish million) and anyone else who is not happy.
    -Look at the defence, you have Phillips, A-train, Lee next year. Mezaros (RFA), Redden (UFA), Commodore (UFA), and Schubert (no idea his status). A big upgrade needs to be hear, especially bringing back some puck moving defencemen. I'd keep COmmodore as a good #5-6 defencemen if you can get him for a decent price. Redden seems to have lost it but I'd keep him if he's cheap ie 3m (i'm sure someone will overpay him though).
    -Goaltending: Buyout Emery (not that expensive as he's young), and possible Gerber as well. Frig I'd take Patrick Lalime in a second over either of these guys. Problem is their are not too many goalies available this offseason. Huet, Hasek, Kolzig (I think) not sure who else. Ottawa will need to get a starter somewhere (via UFA or trade), and call up a young guy (Elliot or Glass). Or just go out and find 2 somewhat reliable starts and platoon it (perhaps they can find that old Buffalo goalie with potential who vanished to Russia… Norennon or something like that). But this position has to be improved.. I preach Ottawa doesn't need a super star, just someone who is solid and won't lose you games.
    -I don't have too many issues with the forwards, I think they need to get a little bigger/more physical.
    -Leadership… Ottawa needs more leadership in a big way, and a mentality that when Emery pulls his stunts.. someone (or group) will grab him by the neck and rain him in, too much lockerroom turmoil has happened.
    -Coaching: I would have no objection if Murray coach's next year, but if he doesn't he has to bring in a solid coach who makes the players accountable, and isn't afraid to wig out and bench someone like Spezza if he doesn't finish his checks or does his stupid no-look behind the back turnover pass's. (Note I do believe Spezza when he matures more and partly has a coach that makes him accountable is going to be an ubelievable solid player, not just the floating offensive opportunist he is now).

  37. leafy says:

    You may have hit the nail on the head.  I can't remember the last time a team went far in the playoffs one year, and then repeated their success the next season.  I think the last time was New Jersey and Colorado around 2000 and 2001.  Teams that go on extended playoff runs are exhausted the next season.

  38. Genejoke says:

    I don't know. The Leafs, crappy as they may be, have an excellent record against Ottawa this year.  They may not be making the playoffs but I'm sure seeing the smug asswipes on the Sens miss the playoffs this year would be a nice consolation prize.  As a Flyers fan I'm cheering for the blue and white on Thursday…probably first time ever.  I feel a little dirty admitting that.

  39. simplyhabby says:

    YEs, without Roy, Montreal would not have one the two cups however, the team played very well infront of him.  A lot of clutch goals, blocked shots and lets not forget the shutdown roles played by Carbo and Gainey in their respective years,  We had great D's in both cup years as well.  Regardless of how well one player is, it is still a team game.

  40. CanadianbornPlaya says:

    Ray Emery admitted his role in John Paddock being fired(grinning during the interview). I wonder if he will take credit for Murry getting the boot. Or for Gerber being chased out of the league. Or,  will he be grinning when he never signs another NHL contract?
          Can the Senators revamp the net for next year and be the same team that started this season at 15-2? I am not sure if Emery is fully to blame  at this point. He definetly got the ball rolling. The deadline trades have not really panned out and it seems the teams confidence is out the window. Even Murry's lack of confidence in the team shows during post-game interviews. He doesn't have any answers as to how to turn it around.
          One scenario that may provide a chance to change it up for Ottawa. They squeek in to the playoffs. Murry gets fed up with Gerber in the first game or two and gives Emery a chance. Emery runs with it and the team rallies around him because they have no other choice. Emery can stop the puck, and he owes it to his teammates to stand on his head if he gets the chance.  I am just speculating here (who knows if Emery even accepts any responsibility for where this team is right now).
          I wonder what next years Senators will look like?

  41. habsrock99 says:

    Mario Lemieux did it twice in 1991 and 1992. Without him there, the Pens would of been a bubble team instead of a Cup winner.

  42. leafy says:

    No, don't get me wrong.  Any team can the Cup, with all the teams so close.  I'm just going with SJ if I had to pick 1 favorite.  But I totally agree I wouldn't bet on it.

  43. Radio says:

    Yup. Sens are gonna have to turn to Emery eventually if they want to go anywhere.

    Next year:

    Lines:

    Heater Spezza Alfie
    Rolston Ribeiro Stillman
    Neil Bass Ja.Williams
    Schubert Winchester Lapointe

    Phillips Volchenkov
    Meszaros Campbell
    Lee Tarnstrom

    Emery
    Ellis

    Alternate:

    McGrattan
    Hennessey
    Richardson

    Trade:

    Fisher
    Vermette
    Commodore
    Donovan
    McAmmond

    Let Go:

    Gerber
    Redden
    Kelly
    Robitaille

    PROBLEMS SOLVED.

  44. Radio says:

    Damn HTR Autoformat

    Lemme try this again.

    Heater     Spezza     Alfie
    Rolston    Ribeiro    Stillman
    Neil         Bass       Ja.Williams
    Schubert   Winchester Lapointe

    Phillips  Volchenkov
    Meszaros  Campbell
    Lee       Tarnstrom

    Emery
    Ellis

    Alt:
    McGrattan
    Hennessy
    Richardson

    Trade:

    Vermette
    Fisher
    Commodore
    Donovan
    McAmmond

    Let Go:

    Redden
    Kelly
    Robitaiile

    Buy Out:

    Gerber

  45. Radio says:

    Ah. People slowly coming around to my viewpoint from Day 1.

    Commodore is a liability. Bench him.

  46. Radio says:

    East is wide open, anyone could win including the Sens.

    But as I said a week ago, Washington will take it all: Starting with a sweep of the Habs.

  47. UsedandAbused says:

    If the Sens got their heads screwed on straight and started playing good hockey I think they could beat anyone in the East. That being said I can see them missing the playoffs. They have some serious problems in the locker room.

  48. Lint07 says:

    for the french readers of the site, here's what squeaked on TV yesterday without RDS even noticing it:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v111/kezor2/poolcrazy/dsc00004wk6.jpg
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v111/kezor2/poolcrazy/dsc00002da9.jpg

    Brilliant!

    ahah!

  49. CofRED says:

    The answer is simple: no, they are not a threat.

    Their goaltending is suspect, perhaps average at best.  Their stars have become largely invisible, their role players mostly appear lost, their defense is making rookie mistakes, and they don't seem to want to play as a team.  They have absolutely zero momentum right now and aren't playing with any desperation.  It's like they think they're going to be given something rather than have to earn it.

    Right now they'll be hard pressed to get into the post season.  Assuming they get in, they'll be one of the first teams to be crowned an "also-ran".

  50. flyersfan10897 says:

    Why is it the Flyers don't know what they are doing? As far as I can remember, Malkin, Crosby, Malone, Whitney, Staal, and Fleury have a whopping 5 games each of playoff experience.  I'm pretty sure that Briere, Hatcher, Smith, Timonen, and Prospal have an idea of what they are doing.  And our young players, like Richards, Carter, Umberger, Lupul, and Hartnell, all have at least the same amount of playoff experience as the Penguins young players.  So if the Flyers don't know what they are doing, the Penguins have even less of an idea.

Leave a Reply