Ottawa Senators: Do They Have a Shot at the Playoffs This Season?

Stephen BrownCorrespondent IIDecember 2, 2011

OTTAWA, ON - NOVEMBER 27:  Milan Michalek #9 of the Ottawa Senators celebrates a goal with his teammates on the bench in a game against the Carolina Hurricanes at Scotiabank Place on November 27, 2011 in Ottawa, Canada.  (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images

As I have mentioned in previous pieces, I expected Milan Michalek to have a big year. However, I did not expect the Senators to have the record they do at this point in the season. 

The Senators currently sit in the last remaining playoff spot (No. 8 in the conference) at a record of 12-11-2. They have remained near .500 over their last 10 games (5-4-1) and have shown that they can win the close scrappy games. 

Over their past seven games, the Sens have averaged 3.7 goals per game, which is a great mark. The scoring has not been an issue of late, but their defence has been. 

This is one of the areas that the Senators were expected to struggle with at the beginning of the season. They have given up 10 goals in their past three games. This month they have given up an average of more than 3.4 goals per game. Once their streaky scoring dries up, as is the case with every team, their defence won’t keep them in games. 

So, do the Senators have a shot at the playoffs? 

Simply put, NO they do not. 

If you look at the teams behind them in the standings, mainly Washington, Montreal and Tampa, you cannot expect that those three will not make the playoffs. As a result, someone needs to get bumped out of their current playoff spot, and that would definitely be the Sens. 

I will personally guarantee that one of those three teams make the playoffs and would bet that two make it. Other than maybe Florida to get eclipsed by Tampa or Washington, I can’t see any other team losing their playoff spot, save maybe the Leafs.

Moreover, the Sens play in a tough division consisting of Toronto, Boston, Montreal and Buffalo—all current playoff teams except les Canadiens, who are one point back of Ottawa—thus making wins tough to come by.

Enjoy the ride of .500 play while it lasts, because these goals with start to drop…and fast.