SPORTS

Ottawa Senators clinch playoff spot with 1 of 3 scenarios

04/10/2015 11:07 EDT | Updated 06/10/2015 10:59 EDT
The Ottawa Senators need just one point against Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon to become the fifth Canadian team to reach the 2015 NHL playoffs.

Coming off a 3-0 win over the New York Rangers, Ottawa has now won 22 of their past 30 games dating back to Feb. 10 — a record of 22-4-4.

They've earned 48 of a possible 60 points over that span, 20 more points than the Pittsburgh Penguins and 16 more than the Boston Bruins over the same time period.

To put it in perspective, on Feb. 10 Ottawa sat one point behind the Toronto Maple Leafs and were tied with the Columbus Blue Jackets for 13th place in the conference.

The Sens visit the Flyers at 12:30 p.m. ET on Saturday for their final regular season game.

There are several different clinching scenarios for Ottawa, as follows:

- Ottawa achieves at least one point vs. Philadelphia, no matter what Boston or Pittsburgh does.

- Boston loses to Tampa Bay (overtime, shoot-out or regulation) on Saturday night.

- Pittsburgh loses its last two games (vs. NYI and Buffalo) in regulation.

Ottawa can still catch Wings, Isles

For those truly optimistic Sens fans, the team can finish as high as third in the Atlantic Division if they win Saturday and Detroit loses to Carolina in regulation. That would avoid a first-round match-up with the Rangers.

On Thursday night, the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets clinched their spots in the NHL playoffs after the Flames eliminated the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the L.A. Kings, with a 3-1 win.

Those teams join Montreal and Vancouver, who had already cemented their playoff positions.

Ottawa's run has become the talk of the NHL and they're now just one point away. The fate sits in the hands of the 18 players, plus goalie Andrew Hammond, when they hit the ice for the Saturday matinee.

As tracked by Twitter user @IneffectiveMath, the Sens have increased their playoff chances from the 20-per cent range to 83 per cent in less than a week.

The one point on Saturday, of course, would boost that number to 100 per cent.

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