Is there any better story right now than the hard-charging Ottawa Senators? A playoff afterthought as recently as early February, the Sens are riding the popularity and success of first-year goalie Andrew "The Hamburglar" Hammond, winning games and, after Thursday's thrilling 6-4 win over the Bruins, pulled within two points of Boston for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference – all with ailing GM Bryan Murray looking on and serving as an inspiration.
Heck, things are going so well for Ottawa (which has won five in a row and eight of their past nine) right now, Senators rookie Curtis Lazar decided to try his luck with one of the hamburgers fans were throwing onto the ice by the dozen after the game had ended:
When Hammond heard about Lazar's spur-of-the-moment decision, he did what any good (and good-humored) teammate would do – he offered to help him:
It's clearly fun to be in the Sens dressing room, but there's still work to be done if they're to qualify for the post-season. Although Ottawa has a game in hand on the sagging Bruins (who've now lost three straight) and can match Boston's 36-24-11 record with a win Saturday in Toronto, the Bruins hold the tiebreaker by virtue of having more regulation and overtime wins. So unless Boston completely collapses in their final 11 games, Ottawa likely will need to finish with more points than the Bruins to make it in.
That said, would you bet against the Senators at this stage? It's too early to call them a team of destiny just yet, but it's not too soon to say they're a lot of fun to follow these days.