Ottawa ended their regular season 23-4-4 over their final 31 games, looking red hot heading into the playoffs. Goalie Andrew Hammond was a big part of that run, going 20-1-2 with a 1.76 goals-against-average in 23 games since being called up from the AHL. The undrafted rookie stopped 34 shots on Saturday, as the Senators needed no help from any other teams to clinch.
Mark Stone scored twice and Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored once in the Senators' regular-season finale. Stone finishes the season with 26 goals, while Pageau has 10 goals to end the year, including 3 in 3 games. Ottawa completed an improbable comeback from 14 points out of a playoff spot on February 10th, finishing he season on a 9-game point streak.
The other two teams fighting for a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference were the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins. The Penguins took care of business with a 2-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres, clinching a playoff spot for them, and eliminating the Bruins, who fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in a shootout.
Marc-Andre Fleury had 28 saves on the night to earn his league-leading 10th shutout of the season. Brandon Sutter scored twice to help the Penguins break out of a slump in which they went 0-4-1 in their previous 5 games. Pittsburgh clinched their ninth consecutive playoff berth, the second longest current streak behind the Detroit Red Wings' 24.
The Penguins barely found a way in after going 4-9-2 over the final 15 games of the year. Meanwhile, the Sabres tied a franchise low for losses with 51 for the second straight season. They were shutout for the 14th time this season, 4 more than the previous club record. The Sabres fell to the Penguins for the sixth straight time, getting outscored 25-3 in those 6 games.
Sutter scored on the team's 25th shot in the second period, and then sealed the deal with his 21st goal of the year in the third. Fleury doubled his previous career high in shutout totals, and finished with 3 more than the previous franchise record set by Tom Barrasso in the 1997-98 season.
The Penguins finish the season with a 43-27-12 record and will face the New York Rangers in the first round of the playoffs beginning Thursday. The Senators finish their remarkable season with a 43-26-13 record and will face the Montreal Canadiens in the first round beginning Wednesday.