Just imagine the narrative if this Ottawa Senators team is able to make a deep run in these 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. A team absolutely devastated by injury over the course of the season, including a serious one to their best player, is in a position to do just that.
The Senators have had their struggles with injuries all over the roster, whether up front, on defense, or in goal. No one has been safe from the rash of injuries. That includes the defending Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson, who suffered the most serious injury of all.
Karlsson suffered a 70 percent tear in his Achilles after it was stepped on by the skate of Matt Cooke. An Achilles injury, in any fashion, is an injury that can derail a career. But Karlsson missed barely over two months with the injury, returning in the last week of the regular season.
He came back without skipping a beat. He saw over 27 minutes of game action in his return to the ice and added a pair of assists, both of which were primary. After a brief fear that they could miss out on the playoffs, the Senators won two of their last three heading into the postseason.
With Karlsson now back into the fold, this Senators team is a serious threat. The value of having their top defenseman back is impossible to overstate. He eats minutes like no other and is one of the top power play weapons in the league, regardless of position.
Then there’s the whole mental aspect of this. With Karlsson back in the mix, this team is certainly going to be fired up and have that feeling that they can knock off anyone in the postseason. In the Stanley Cup Playoffs, even that state of mind can be trouble for opposing teams.
As good as the Montreal Canadiens have looked for most of this year, they’re absolutely going to have their hands full with this Senators club. The Senators have had varying levels of success against their division rivals, but with Karlsson back, this is a series that could very well go seven games.