One of the least likely participants in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs is the Ottawa Senators. It’s not that the Senators had few expectations at the beginning of the short regular season, but rather it’s that Ottawa seemed to have another star suffer a significant injury every other week. Centerman Jason Spezza played only five games this year and is probably out for the first round of the 2013 NHL Playoffs. Defending Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson suffered a gruesome cut to his Achilles tendon in a freak play against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He has somehow managed to recover in miraculous time and joined the team in the last week of the season to prepare for their first round matchup against the Montreal Canadiens.
Goaltending was the key component that kept the Ottawa Senators in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoff conversation. Craig Anderson was a magician in between the pipes, leading the NHL in GAA for much of the season and making dazzling saves in high volumes over the course of the season. Because of their depth at the position, the Senators made a trade deadline move with the Tampa Bay Lightning to acquire young scoring threat Cory Conacher. They’re hoping some young energy, paired with playoff veterans like Captain Daniel Alfredsson and Sergei Gonchar, will help the Senators defeat bitter national rival Montreal Canadiens. The cities are close together geographically and the fans despise the other franchise. This will be a tightly contested and bitter seven-game showdown. Can the Ottawa Senators continue to surprise the analysts and overcome injury to make a 2013 NHL Playoff run?
Ottawa wasn’t guaranteed a playoff spot until their victories over the last weekend of the NHL regular season including a victory over the Boston Bruins. They will need to defend their home ice at ScotiaBank Place and steal a victory on the road if they hope to win a first round series against the Montreal Canadiens. The teams split their season series, each winning both games at home.