If all goes as planned, the Ottawa Senators will make the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Senators, who currently sit 5th in the Eastern Conference, would have to go through an unbelievabley cold stretch to miss this year's post season.
Realistically, the Senators have three potential opponents in the first round of the playoffs, the New Jersey Devils, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Buffalo Sabres. But who do the Sens want to play?
The New Jersey Devils are the team the Sens want to play the least. Martin Brodeur is a goalie known for stealing a series or two, and against the Senators, this would be no exception. Ilya Kovalchuk is finally starting buy into Lou Lamirello's system. Kovalchuk has 17 points in 18 games with the new club. Ottawa has a record of 1-3 against the Devils, although all of these games were before Kovalchuk was in the lineup. Playing the devils might be the worst option for the Senators.
In the middle is the Pittsburgh Penguins. The defending Stanley Cup champions are a far cry from what they were last year. Evgeni Malkin has been struggling all year with injuries and inconsistency. The record between the two teams is 2-2 although the season series was finished before the Olympic break.
The Buffalo Sabres are the ideal first round matchup for the Ottawa Senators. The Senators are an amazing 5-0 this season against Buffalo, with a total of 9 straight wins dating back to last season. Lindy Ruff said himself in an interview that Alfredsson is their teams hardest player to play against. Alfredsson has 7 goals and 5 assists in the five games this season. Jason Spezza has an eleven game point streak against the Sabres.
The only potential drawback? Hart trophy and Vezina Trophy nominee, Ryan Miller stole a silver medal at the Olympics and could easily steal any series.