Here's a look at six reasons why the Senators are headed back to the postseason:
SOG: 249 | +/-: 18
2. Big Mac: General manager Bryan Murray changed coaches last summer, giving longtime Detroit assistant Paul MacLean his first shot at a top job. The owner of one of the NHL's best mustaches showed he'd learned a lot in six seasons in Hockeytown under Mike Babcock, keeping the Senators on an even keel by knowing when to get tough or back off. MacLean, now 54 is one of the oldest first-time coaching hires in recent NHL history -- but he says the job came at the right time, and that he might not have been able to handle it as well earlier in his career.
3. O Captain, my Captain: At 39 and coming off a season shortened by injuries, there were a lot of questions as to how much captain Daniel Alfredsson had left in the tank. Alfredsson answered any doubters with a solid season in which he's stayed healthy enough to put up 27 goals (his highest total since 2007-08) and 58 points in 77 games. He's also served as a mentor for Karlsson, a fellow Swede, and helped the third-year defenseman blossom.
4. Spezza steps up: After putting up just 57 points in each of the last two seasons (and missing 20+ games in each with injuries), Jason Spezza is on the way to his best offensive season since 2007-08. The second player taken in the 2001 NHL Draft enters the final week of the season with 32 goals and 82 points and is a threat to score or set up a goal every time he's on the ice.
GAA: 2.85 | SVP: 0.914
6. Mighty Milan: Milan Michalek was one of the players who came back from San Jose when the Senators traded two-time 50-goal scorer Dany Heatley to the Sharks in 2009. After two disappointing seasons that were plagued by injuries, Michalek has had a breakout season -- he leads the Senators with 35 goals, including one in Sunday's playoff clincher. Michalek's improvement is among the primary reasons that the Senators enter the final week of the season with 245 goals, fourth in the East and already 53 more than they had in 2010-11.