For those who missed it, the Montreal Canadiens officially clinched a spot in the 2008 NHL playoffs with a 7-5 win over the Ottawa Senators tonight, continuing their dominance at the top of the Eastern Conference.
With five games left (one against Ottawa, two against Toronto and two against Buffalo), there’s no mathematical way for our team to finish out of the playoffs. Barring some unlikely surge by the Senators combined with a five-game losing streak for the Canadiens, we’ll also finish first in the Northeast Division, which will ensure a top-three (and realistically, a top-two) finish in the conference, giving us home ice advantage and an easier opponent (*cough*Boston*cough*) for the first round of the playoffs.
That’s way better than even the most optimistic of pundits had the team finishing in their preseason predictions.
Part of it is because the team has been lucky, with no major injuries. Part of it is stellar performances from young players. Part of it is Alex Kovalev. Part of it is Carey Price. And we all know part of it is the sheer force of my will.
How far will we go? Farther than last year, that’s mathematically certain now.