Senators Win 5-1 Over Islanders; Clinch Playoff Spot

Check out the highlights

http://video.thescore.com/watch/ott-5-nyi-1

After a pre-season full of last place predictions, the Ottawa Senators could do what some said was impossible and clinch a playoff spot Sunday afternoon.  All they had to do was defeat a team they have played quite well all season long in the New York Islanders.  Of course, these type of situations usually lead to some sort of letdown so it would be up to the Ottawa veterans to keep the team focused on the task at hand. 

Unfortunately for the Senators, two of their most productive veterans missed the game.  About a half an hour before puck drop, it was announced that both Daniel Alfredsson (flu) and Jason Spezza (birth of child) would not be playing and that Rob Klinkhammer & Bobby Butler would take their place.  To win with one of their superstars missing from the lineup might’ve been tough, to win with neither, almost impossible.  In such an important game, the Senators had quite the hill to climb. 

And the mountain got even higher.  After holding the Islanders without a shot for almost 7 minutes, John Tavares’ centring pass deflected off a charging Mark Streit’s skate and past Craig Anderson to make it 1-0.   But the Senators kept pressing and eventually were rewarded.  On an offensive zone rush, Kyle Turris’ initial shot came right back to his stick, allowing him to outwait the defender and a sprawling Aldo Montoya.  A high wrist shot later and the game was tied at 1.

The second period was all Senators.  First, on the power-play, Milan Michalek found a streaking Sergei Gonchar with a nifty backhand pass and it was 2-1.  Then, Michalek would victimize Marty Reasoner, banking the puck off his skate twice in a weird version of Pinball before it eventually crossed the red line to increase the lead to 2.  Finally, on a scramble in front, Nick Foligno was able to jam the puck by Montoya and it was 4-1.  On the play, Jesse Winchester recorded an assist, his first point since his game-tying goal against the New Jersey Devils on December 8th, 2011.

 Kyle Turris would finish off an impressive performance with his 12th goal of the season in the third period. 

5-1 was the final and the Ottawa Senators clinched an Eastern Conference playoff spot.  An impressive accomplishment for a team that most felt would finish amongst the bottom of the league, if not dead last.  Kyle Turris finished the night with 2 goals & 2 assists, while Milan Michalek recorded a goal and 2 assists.  Nick Foligno & Sergei Gonchar tallied 2 points a piece. 

Daniel Alfredsson’s 400th goal, Chris Phillips’ 1000th game, Erik Karlsson’s breakout season, the All-Star weekend and now a playoff berth.  Quite the season for the Ottawa Senators!

The Ottawa Senators “Believe It” Playoff Video

http://video.senators.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=168738

Post-Game video of MacLean, Michalek, Phillips & Turris

http://video.senators.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=169255

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