We have reached a point in the NHL season where every game means either getting to the playoffs or falling just short. The Ottawa Senators have looked like a team that would easily make the postseason, but if they keep losing to inferior competition, their hopes will go down the drain. Ottawa lost to one of those teams on Sunday with a 2-1 loss against the Florida Panthers. Florida is in last place in the Eastern Conference with no real hope of making the playoffs.
Ottawa must be happy to get Craig Anderson back in net after trading Ben Bishop away at the trade deadline and Anderson did play well, but it wasn’t enough. The Senators did control play and had 41 shots on goal, but you have to put the puck in the net more with that many shots since Florida had just 17 shots against Anderson. I understand that the Senators aren’t going to set the world on fire with their goal-scoring, but that was a game that the team needed to win.
The Senators have 44 points right now which is good enough for sixth place. It puts Ottawa four points ahead of the two teams just outside the playoffs. There are 10 games to go in the regular season and I believe that Ottawa needs to gain at least 10 points in those 10 games. You would want to be closer to 56 or 57 points, but 54 points should be enough to make the playoffs. The loss on Sunday hopefully wakes up the Senators, though, even if they did control the game. The team must understand that one goal a game isn’t going to win in the playoffs.